Uganda Continues to Search for Bodies After Boat Capsized in Lake Victoria

Uganda Continues to Search for Bodies After Boat Capsized in Lake Victoria
Overcrowded Ugandan party boat capsizes and sinks, killing 29 passengers
The capsizing of a boat cruise on Lake Victoria in Uganda has killed at least 29 people. Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni said on Sunday that the boat was carrying more than twice its capacity of 50 people.

Uganda‘s President Yoweri Museveni said on Sunday that a cruise boat which capsized on Lake Victoria a day earlier, killing at least 29 people, was carrying more than twice its capacity of 50.

One reason many people died so close to shore was likely "intoxication," said Asuman Mugenyi, national director of police operations. Citing the accounts of some survivors, he said there was a good number of life jackets aboard the doomed vessel that passengers neglected to wear.

Video: Uganda Continues to Search for Bodies After Boat Capsized in Lake Victoria

Ugandan divers recover bodies after accident that killed at least 30

More than 200 people died in September when an overloaded ferry sank on the Tanzanian side of the lake.

The boat overturned and sank at about 7 p.m. Saturday night, said senior police officer Zurah Ganyana. She said that 27 people were rescued overnight, lower than earlier reports. More than 90 passengers were on the boat, leading officials to believe that the death toll will rise.

Uganda party boat capsizes on Lake Victoria, killing 29

On Sunday, a police helicopter flew over the spot where the boat went down on Saturday evening in the waters off Mukono district near Kampala, as a large crowd of onlookers, some wailing, stood on the shore where bodies were piling up.

"They were shouting `Help us! Help us!' and the boat was sinking very quickly," said Sam Tukei, one of several local men who used fishermen's canoes to rescue people. "By the time the police came we had saved many people."

Revellers ignored warning shortly before boat capsized: police

“The operators of this boat will be charged with criminal negligence and manslaughter, if they have not already been punished for their mistake by dying in the accident,” Museveni wrote on Twitter.

At least 30 dead after Uganda party boat capsizes

Obviously, the operators of this boat will be charged with criminal negligence and manslaughter, if they have not already been punished for their mistake by dying in the accident. May the souls of all those departed in this tragedy rest in peace.

There was a party going on aboard the boat, with loud music, at the time of the accident, Museveni said.

The boat is believed to have been on a routine weekend cruise that is popular among some young Ugandans. Victims include the couple who owned the boat, according to police officer Ganyana.

Rescue and recovery missions search for the bodies of dead passengers after a cruise boat capsized in Lake Victoria off Mukono district, Uganda November 25, 2018.

Prince Wasajja told BBS TV, a television company owned by the Buganda kindom, that, Those who died are those who had not worn jackets. If police had not insisted, it would have been worse because everyone would have come without a life jacket.When they (other passengers) saw that the police had blocked … they gave up on going on the boat].

“They might not have heard the emergency commands of the captain, who is still unaccounted for,” he said.

Zurah Ganyana, the police spokesperson for the Mutima rescue and recovery operation, said their officers told the group that the boat had been grounded for three months and that refurbishments had been rushed but that they nearly turned rowdy.

Patrick Onyango, the deputy spokesman for the police, said the vessel had encountered rough conditions at the time of the accident.

They said revellers attempted to cause a scene by mobilising people near the beach against police, telling them they wanted to deny Buganda royals the rights of movement and association.

Video: Families of the missing passengers in the Uganda boat tragedy call for governments help

Among those rescued on Saturday was Prince Daudi Kintu Wasajja, a brother of Ronald Mutebi, the king of Buganda kingdom, Uganda‘s largest, police said.

Marine units from the Uganda Police Force and the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces on Monday started pulling the wreckage out of the lake to establish if there were more bodies in it.

RPT-UPDATE 1-Death toll from Uganda boat cruise accident jumps to 29

The East African nation has several kingdoms, whose kings wield considerable social clout but little political influence.

According to Uganda police and transport ministry officers, Prince Wasajja, Kabaka Ronald Mutebis first son, Prince Jjunju Ssuuna Kiweew and others refused to abide by directives.

Uganda boat accident kills 30, dozens still missing

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The officers had seen fabricators sealing holes in MV Templar that day, while it was in the water, which is contrary to engineering standards. Holes in vessels are sealed on land.

Music and booze-filled party cruises around Lake Victoria are a rite of passage of sorts for fun-seeking young Ugandans, but the one that pushed off into the waters Saturday night seemed doomed from the start.

The rickety vessel had been in poor condition and had been docked for some time before people started piling on near Kampala, the Ugandan capital, authorities told The Associated Press. The owners of the boat did not have a license to operate and had overloaded the boat well past the point of being safe.

The revelers aboard — including a Ugandan recording artist and a prince — were apparently unaware of the danger until it was too late.

DISASTER ON WATEREver since it was renamed Lake Victoria in the middle of the 19th Century by British explorer John Speke in total disregard of its local names such as Nalubaale, Africas largest lake has claimed thousands of lives. As Uganda still absorbs the shock of scores who drowned on Saturday when their boat sank off Mutima Beach in Mukono near Kampala, New Vision traces back marine tragedies on the lake.Deaths on Lake Victoria are not new. In the 19th Century, most deaths on the lake were from military battles as the kings of Buganda, boasting firepower of thousands of rifles bought from Arabs, sought to control the continents largest water body. They eventually did and as they policed the lake, they levied taxes on merchandise, in addition to conquering and annexing most islands to their kingdom. The last king to control Lake Victoria was Mwanga II, with a flotilla of thousands of boats that he inherited from his father, Mutesa I, and grandfather, Ssuna II.

About 7 p.m., the boat overturned and sank, spilling about 90 people into the lake. Inebriated partygoers suddenly found themselves flailing in the water, facing a life-or-death scenario.

First, many accounts state clearly that the boat which carried party goers from KK Beach in Gaba was in terribly bad condition. Police state that an officer at the beach where it sailed from tried to stop it from taking off, but was intimidated by the high-profile passengers.All accounts also are unanimous that the boat was overloaded with over 100 passengers, although it shouldnt have carried more than 50. Unfortunately, there was even no complete passenger manifest, so some people whose dear ones perished will take long to know that they are dead.It is also generally agreed that not everybody had a life jacket. In fact, top musician Iryn Namubiru, who was on board the ill-fated boat, said the jackets were available but the socialites didnt wear them because they apparently didnt look cool in them.

Many were not wearing life jackets, authorities said, and their panic was probably increased by their state of intoxication.

I would like to thank all of you who have reached out to me. By GODS GRACE I am still Alive ,safe and getting medical attention but so traumatised. My deepest thoughts to our comrades who didnt make it and condolences to the bereaved families. What can I say? GOD #NSIIMYE 🙏 pic.twitter.com/hH4qbvVYlK

“They were shouting ‘Help us! Help us!’ and the boat was sinking very quickly,” Sam Tukei, one of several men who used fishermen’s canoes to try to rescue people, told The Associated Press. “By the time the police came, we had saved many people.”

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Two fishing boats that came to the aid of passengers were overwhelmed with people and capsized, according to the BBC.

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Video: Police and Army teams continue search for bodies

As word spread, dozens of family members and friends gathered along the shoreline, peering through a wire fence, emitting occasional screams or cries at the sight of a loved one’s body being pulled from the water, the BBC reported. Others pored over sweaters, wallets, keys and shoes hoping to identify the dead.

Among the rescued was music artist Iryn Namubiru, according to the BBC, and Prince Daudi Kintu Wasajja, brother of the king of Buganda, Uganda’s largest traditional kingdom.

“The operators of this boat will be charged with criminal negligence and manslaughter, if they have not already been punished for their mistake by dying in the accident,” Museveni wrote on Twitter.

The boat was owned by a man named Templa Bissase or Bissaso and his wife, according to a statement that President Yoweri K. Museveni issued to the Ugandan Daily Monitor. The boat was travelling from a private beach and had a capacity of 50 people — but was unregistered, unlicensed and possibly uninsured. The boat party’s music was turned up so loud, Museveni’s statement said, the people aboard “might not have heard the emergency commands of the captain.”

Among those rescued on Saturday was Prince Daudi Kintu Wasajja, a brother of Ronald Mutebi, the king of Buganda kingdom, Ugandas largest, police said.

Boat accidents are increasingly common on East Africa’s large lakes, including Lake Victoria, which is surrounded by Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, and is larger than Switzerland.

Patrick Onyango, the deputy spokesman for the police, said the vessel had encountered rough conditions at the time of the accident.

Saturday’s tragedy was the second large-scale sinking on Lake Victoria in two months. In September, nearly 150 people died after a ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized on the Tanzanian side of the lake, the BBC reported. The ferry had a capacity of 100 people, but 400 people climbed aboard, many of them carrying goods to nearby markets.

Critics directed their rage at the government, which they accused of using an overloaded, undersized ferry on a busy route that crosses Lake Victoria a half-dozen times a day. Compounding problems: It was market day, and the ferry was also loaded with supplies, including heavy bags of cement and corn.

“We are really saddened and urge the government to provide a new ferry because the old one was small and the population is big,” Editha Josephat Magesa, a resident who lost an aunt, father and younger brother in the boat tragedy, told the BBC.

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Uganda party boat capsizes on Lake Victoria, killing 30

But closer to Uganda, as authorities continued to pull bodies out of the water, it was unclear who, if anyone, would be held responsible for the deaths.

“Obviously, the operators of this boat will be charged with criminal negligence and manslaughter, if they have not already been punished for their mistake by dying in the accident,” Museveni said in a statement.

Music and booze-filled party cruises around Lake Victoria are a rite of passage of sorts for fun-seeking young Ugandans, but the one that pushed off into the waters Saturday night seemed doomed from the start.

At least 30 drown in Uganda pleasure boat disaster

The rickety vessel had been in poor condition and had been docked for some time before people started piling on near Kampala, the Ugandan capital, authorities told The Associated Press. The owners of the boat did not have a license to operate and had overloaded the boat well past the point of being safe.

At Least 31 Dead in a Ugandan Boat Accident

The revelers aboard — including a Ugandan recording artist and a prince — were apparently unaware of the danger until it was too late.

About 7 p.m., the boat overturned and sank, spilling about 90 people into the lake. Inebriated partygoers suddenly found themselves flailing in the water, facing a life-or-death scenario.

Many were not wearing life jackets, authorities said, and their panic was probably increased by their state of intoxication.

“They were shouting ‘Help us! Help us!’ and the boat was sinking very quickly,” Sam Tukei, one of several men who used fishermen’s canoes to try to rescue people, told The Associated Press. “By the time the police came, we had saved many people.”

Update 3: Death Toll Rises To 32

Two fishing boats that came to the aid of passengers were overwhelmed with people and capsized, according to the BBC.

As word spread, dozens of family members and friends gathered along the shoreline, peering through a wire fence, emitting occasional screams or cries at the sight of a loved one’s body being pulled from the water, the BBC reported. Others pored over sweaters, wallets, keys and shoes hoping to identify the dead.

Among the rescued was music artist Iryn Namubiru, according to the BBC, and Prince Daudi Kintu Wasajja, brother of the king of Buganda, Uganda’s largest traditional kingdom.

The boat was owned by a man named Templa Bissase or Bissaso and his wife, according to a statement that President Yoweri K. Museveni issued to the Ugandan Daily Monitor. The boat was travelling from a private beach and had a capacity of 50 people — but was unregistered, unlicensed and possibly uninsured. The boat party’s music was turned up so loud, Museveni’s statement said, the people aboard “might not have heard the emergency commands of the captain.”

22 dead, scores feared drowned after Uganda boat sinks

Boat accidents are increasingly common on East Africa’s large lakes, including Lake Victoria, which is surrounded by Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, and is larger than Switzerland.

Saturday’s tragedy was the second large-scale sinking on Lake Victoria in two months. In September, nearly 150 people died after a ferry carrying hundreds of people capsized on the Tanzanian side of the lake, the BBC reported. The ferry had a capacity of 100 people, but 400 people climbed aboard, many of them carrying goods to nearby markets.

Critics directed their rage at the government, which they accused of using an overloaded, undersized ferry on a busy route that crosses Lake Victoria a half-dozen times a day. Compounding problems: It was market day, and the ferry was also loaded with supplies, including heavy bags of cement and corn.

“We are really saddened and urge the government to provide a new ferry because the old one was small and the population is big,” Editha Josephat Magesa, a resident who lost an aunt, father and younger brother in the boat tragedy, told the BBC.

But closer to Uganda, as authorities continued to pull bodies out of the water, it was unclear who, if anyone, would be held responsible for the deaths.

“Obviously, the operators of this boat will be charged with criminal negligence and manslaughter, if they have not already been punished for their mistake by dying in the accident,” Museveni said in a statement.