Lake Tanganyika boat accident: 13 confirmed dead, eight missing

24Dec 2017
Guardian On Sunday
Lake Tanganyika boat accident: 13 confirmed dead, eight missing

THIRTEEN bodies have been recovered and eight people are still missing and believed drowned after a boat collided with a dhow on Lake Tanganyika on Friday.

Nine more bodies were recovered yesterday after four were found on Friday, raising the death toll to 13.

Officials said at least eight more people are still missing and feared drowned from the boat accident that occured at Uvinza District in Kigoma Region. 

A boat reportedly crashed into a dhow carrying choir members and dozens of other passengers, causing it to sink. 

The dhow was carrying some 137 passengers onboard, who were going to a religious meeting at Sunuka village, while the boat travelling from Kigoma town had some 65 passengers.

More than 100 passengers have already been rescued from the lake accident, but rescue workers are still searching for more survivors or bodies.

The search and rescue mission is being carried out jointly by members of the Tanzania Police Force and the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF).

Fatal accidents are common on Lake Tanganyika.  

In September 2013, at least 13 people, 11 of them children, drowned when a boat carrying them back from a trip to a Tanzanian hospital for vaccinations capsized on the lake.

Initial police investigations indicated that the boat sank when it was hit by strong winds.

Lake Tanganyika, which straddles the border between Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is the world’s second largest by volume. 

At least 129 people drowned in December 2014 when a passenger ship capsized on Lake Tanganyika in the southeast of the neighbouring DRC.

The Great Lakes of Central Africa, the best-known of which are Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa, can be as treacherous in bad weather.

Shipwrecks involving overloaded vessels are frequent and the numbers of fatalities are often very high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many people in the areas cannot swim.

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