Tanzania ferry accident: Hundreds feared dead as boat capsizes at Lake Victoria

In 1996 more than 500 people were killed when a ferry sank near Mwanza on Lake Victoria

Dozens more bodies were recovered on Friday, the morning after a Tanzanian ferry disaster, almost doubling the death toll to 86, with hundreds more feared missing as rescuers resumed searching for survivors at first light.

At least 37 people have been rescued, but reports suggest the MV Nyerere may have been carrying as many as several hundred passengers.

Ukerewe District Commissioner Colonel Lucas Magembe said 42 people are confirmed dead.

Accidents like these are not uncommon on Lake Victoria and overloading is often to blame.

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"With God's help, we rescue those who are alive", Mwanza district commissioner John Mongela said.

- There was no incident reported to the operator, Tanzania's Electrical and Mechanical Services Agency (Temesa), in the course of journey, officials say.

There was confusion about the number of passengers on board, because the person who dispensed tickets was among the dead, according to Reuters.

The MV Nyerere ferry overturned near the shore of Ukara island on its way from Bugorora.

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President John Magafuli has sent his condolences to the victims.

An eyewitness told this paper that more than 20 people were rescued by fishermen immediately after the accident occurred.

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

Six years ago, 144 people died or disappeared when an overloaded ferry sank off the semi-autonomous Tanzanian island of Zanzibar.

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Boat disasters are frequent on Tanzania's waters, where ferries often exceed their capacity. It was one of the the worst ferry disasters of the last century.

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