Dar Es Salaam, Sep 22 : Rescuers working to retrieve bodies from a ferry that sank in Lake Victoria in Tanzania found a survivor on Saturday, two days after the tragedy took place, although the death toll rose to 170.
According to Tanzanian news outlet The Citizen, a man was found alive in an air pocket in the upturned vessel on the same day when another 24 bodies were recovered from the scene of the accident.
MV Nyerere sunk between the islands of Ukerewe and Ukara on Thursday with around 400 passengers onboard — nearly four times the legal capacity. So far rescuers have confirmed only around 40 survivors.
President John Magufuli declared three days of national mourning and ordered the vessel’s crew and managers from the state company that operates the ferry service arrested for questioning, Efe news reported.
Preliminary investigations showed that the state-owned ferry was overloaded and was being manned by someone who was not the authorized captain of the vessel. The vessel capsized just 50 meters (164 feet) from the shore.
Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, is shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The Tanzanian portion of the lake was the scene in 1996 of one of the worst shipwrecks of the 20th century, the sinking of the ferry MV Bukoba, which left an estimated 615 people dead.
There has been public outrage over the decision made by regional authorities of Mwanza Region, whose north borders Lake Victoria, to call off the search and rescue operation after dark on Thursday.