Tanzania: Death toll from ferry accident now 224

Rescuers stand on the capsized ferry
Rescuers stand on the capsized ferry
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Burials started Sunday of the 224 people who died when a ferry capsized on Lake Victoria, Tanzania’s State broadcaster said Sunday.

The bodies of 172 people who died in the boat tragedy have been identified, Tanzania’s Minister of Works, Transport and Communication Isack Kamwelwe said. The bodies of 37 others have not been identified, he told the broadcaster.

Tanzania’s Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa led mourners at the funeral service.

On Saturday rescuers found a survivor two days after the tragedy. The man was identified as an engineer of the ferry who had locked himself in the engine room. Video footage showed the man, barefoot and head lolling, being carried quickly along a busy street by medical workers and military personnel as a siren wailed. His condition was not immediately known.

No further survivors were likely to be found and search efforts had ended, Defense Minister Venance Mabeyo told reporters at the scene. He said officials would continue working to identify the dead. However, the total number of deaths may never be known as no one is sure how many people were on the overcrowded ferry, which officials said had a capacity of 101.

The boat tipped over as people returning from a busy market day with their goods prepared to disembark, while horrified fishermen and others watched.

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At least 40 people were rescued, officials said.

President John Magufuli has ordered the arrests of those responsible. He said the ferry captain already had been detained after leaving the steering to someone who wasn’t properly trained, The Citizen newspaper reported.

“This is a great disaster for our nation,” Magufuli told the nation in a televised address, announcing four days of national mourning.

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