How Uganda boat sank, killing 30 in Lake Victoria

How Uganda boat sank, killing 30 in Lake Victoria
Boat Cruise Survivors Narrate Tragedy
Rescuers search for victims at the site of a capsized cruise boat on Lake Victoria near Mutima village, south of Kampala, Uganda, on November 25, 2018. – Thirty people drowned and more than 60 were feared dead after a pleasure boat sank in Lake Victoria, Ugandan police said, in the latest such incident on Africa's largest body of water. PHOTO | ISAAC KASAMANI | AFP  

The boat was too slippery and I found it hard to hold on it. Luckily in my struggles, I chanced on a way out and climbed the upper part of the boat.

“We departed from KK Beach [in Ggaba]. Originally the departure time was 12pm but for some unknown reasons, we were delayed until 5pm.

People used this time to drink [alcohol]. When the boat finally came, it was big and could not come to the shores.

We ignored this and thought it was normal because we were told in the beginning that the waves would affect its balance.

As we kept moving, we suddenly realised water was entering the boat. A helmsman told us to sit side by side such that we could balance the boat.

By now, we were in the middle of the lake and waves were stronger. Musical systems started falling off.

We had some life jackets but some people did not wear them. Some said having jackets would spoil their sense of style when taking pictures for social media.

We were going to have some fun on the island but personally, I was going to supply drinks as I have always done.

We would reach at some point and the engine stops working completely, then the boat would just float.

The people responsible would repair it and then we would continue the journey with assurance that the boat was fine and it was the waves causing some problems.

But when we reached the middle of the lake, the waves intensified and we could see that the boat was losing balance but management reassured us that we would reach safely.

Many ran to the upper deck. Water increased, the music speakers fell into the water, and then the generator also fell.

The boat was left swaying on the water, the engine could not work anymore. We were more than 100 people on board.

Even the good swimmers found it hard to get out of the trap. What helped me was the life jacket. Many did not have.

The boat was too slippery and I found it hard to hold on it. Luckily in my struggles, I chanced on a way out and climbed the upper part of the boat.

The first rescue canoe that came capsized too when it was overwhelmed by the number of people [seeking to enter it].

Prince Wasajja survived because he had a life jacket and when the rescue team came, he was easily recognised.

As for Irene Namubiru, (local singer), I think she sensed danger early, asked for a life jacket and when the boat started sinking, she jumped into water and started swimming”.

We had no way out. The boat started capsizing. We saw our friends falling into water, but we could not save them. The boat covered them.

We had no way out. The boat started capsizing. We saw our friends falling into water, but we could not save them. The boat covered them.

MUKONO – We departed from KK Beach. The big boat could not come to the shores, so we were taken to where it was docking using canoes. It was from that point that we boarded. As the boat started to move, it lost balance. We struggled to balance with the boat. We reached somewhere in the middle of the lake and the waves got bigger and stronger. Then, suddenly, we saw one of the loud speakers fall into the water. That was when we realised we were in danger. All of us struggled to climb to the upper side because one side was already submerged. We had no way out. The boat started capsizing. We saw our friends falling into water, but we could not save them. The boat covered them. There were some courageous boys who were close to me and at the border line of the boat. They went to the upper part and used their phone flash lights to call for help. We were close to Mutima Beach. Some of the people at Mutima Beach realised there was something wrong in the water, so they started sending canoes to check out.

Those of us who were remaining devised a pattern, where we held onto each other, until when the rescue team reached us. The local rescue arrived in about 10 minutes. We had life jackets on the boat, but some people did not put them on. Socialites did not want the jackets to spoil their sense of style. They were taking pictures. The drunk ones could not be told to put on life jackets.

Brian Vianney Jjuuko Mukasa, another of the survivors, who led the prayers during the chaos, also shared the tragedy on his Facebook account. Friends, family and comrades, I am alive and well. I am sorry for the tears and tension and, thank you for the prayers. I also pray for those that you called to heaven because I led the prayer when all hope was gone, and when all people were in total chaos and panic. I did not swim the entire lake alone. I was with Jesus Christ, your son. I managed to save two lives, but I am sorry to the woman I could not save. My own hands were out of energy.We had life jackets on the boat, but Socialites did not want them to spoil their sense of styleIryn Namubiru Iryn Namubiru, a renowned artist, who was among the revellers, also confirmed that she survived. Namubiru posted on Twitter: “Would like to thank all of you who have p out to me. By God’s grace, I am still alive, safe and getting medical attention.”In addition, Namubiru said, she is so traumatised. She also extended her deepest thoughts to revellers who did not survive.

“My deepest thoughts to our comrades who didn’t make it and condolences to the bereaved families. What can I say? God,” she said in one of the tweets.