Death toll in Tanzania ferry accident rises to 86

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The death toll from a ferry accident in Tanzania has reached eighty-six as rescue operations continue, reported on Friday morning.

President John Magufuli mourns the dead, while more than 40 pulled alive from the lake.

Regional Police Commander said vessel may have been overloaded, Ferry was heading to Ukara Island from Ukara.

President Magufuli on late Thursday sent his condolences to victims of the accident according to a statement from State House the presidency.

A rescue operation is continuing after passenger ferry capsized in Lake Victoria on Thursday.

A government official said that up to 200 people are believed to have drowned, but so far (as at Thursday evening) only 42 have been confirmed dead.

Tanzania’s Electrical, Mechanical and Services Agency (TEMESA), which operates ferry services, said the boat, known as MV Nyerere, sank on Thursday afternoon in Ukurewe district Mwanza region.

TEMESA Spokeswoman Theresia Mwami said “so far they had not established the exact number of passengers who were on board”.

The ferry capsized a few metres before docking, Mwami said.

While the ferry has a capacity of about 100 passengers, it was said to be carrying more than its capacity, in addition to cargo.

Mwami said the ferry did not have any mechanical problems because TEMESA had carried out heavy maintenance on it in recent months including overhauling two engines.

In 2012, at least 145 people died in a ferry disaster in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean, on a vessel that was overcrowded.

Hauwa Mustapha