Burials begin as deaths from capsized ferry rise to 224


Rescuers search to retrieve bodies from the water after a ferry overturned off the shores of Ukerewe Island on Lake Victoria, Tanzania, Sept. 21, 2018.

Officials could not confirm the precise number, but believe as many as three times the boat's capacity of 100 people were aboard the vessel when it capsized about 50 metres from the dock at Ukara island on Thursday afternoon. The Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation, which reported the death toll, said he had shut himself into the engine room.

Works, Transport and Communication Minister Isack Kamwelwe said the government was sending sophisticated equipment to aid the rescue effort.

Boat accidents on Lake Victoria, which is shared by the East African countries of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, are common often caused by lax safety laws, weak enforcement and old and poorly maintained vessels.

President John Magufuli ordered the arrest of those responsible for the sinking on Friday.

The state broadcaster, quoting Mr Kamwelwe said the rescue operation is still under way to recover more bodies.

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Video footage of the survivor found in a capsized Tanzanian ferry two days after the deadly disaster shows him carried quickly along a busy street by health workers and military personnel as a siren wails. It's thought that the ship tipped when passengers moved to one side when the ferry docked, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reported. It was market day, which usually sees the vessel packed with people and goods. "I remember I was sitting on top of some bags of maize with my sister and other passengers, the next thing I knew I was in the water", she told BBC News.

Search teams spent the day pulling bodies from the MV Nyerere, which sank amid speculation it was overcrowded, as four days of mourning began for victims.

"I have information that some have been arrested, including the captain, who, I am told, was not on board".

President Magufuli warned against using the disaster for political gains.

"We have often raised concerns about the poor condition of this ferry, but the government turned a deaf ear".

If we tell them not to overload the ferry, they don't listen to us, just like last Thursday. "We have repeatedly denounced this negligence", said John Mnyika, deputy secretary general of the main opposition party Chadema. "This ferry has killed our people".