Death toll in Tanzanian ferry disaster stands at 218


Divers rescued a man from the wreck of an overcrowded Tanzanian ferry two days after it capsized on Lake Victoria.

Bodies continued to float to the surface around the vessel, which initial estimates suggested was carrying more than 300 people. State broadcaster TBC said the death toll was 218.

Four navy divers resumed their search inside the sunken MV Nyerere on Saturday after hearing sounds suggesting life.

They pulled a man from the overturned ship and he was rushed to hospital, a Reuters witness said. His condition was not immediately known.

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

Dozens of relatives stood crying by the shoreline as they waited for information on their loved ones. Coffins were lined up awaiting bodies being pulled from the vessel, which lay belly up just metres from the shoreline.
“The ferry overturned fast and covered us,” survivor Charles Ngarima told Reuters. “I was lucky I was able to swim under water not knowing where I was swimming to… While trying to swim to safety, I hit metal bars that cut my face and the back of my head.”

Another survivor, Jennifer Idhoze, said the ferry capsized because it was overloaded. “I was able to jump out of the ferry… That is how I survived,” she said.

Works, Transport and Communication Minister Isack Kamwelwe said government was sending special equipment to aid the rescue effort.
“The equipment will increase efficiency in the rescue operation and we will continue with the search until we are satisfied we have rescued everyone,” he told Reuters.

The ferry sank on Thursday evening a few metres from the dock on Ukerewe, the lake’s biggest island.