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More than 100 die in Lake Victoria ferry disaster

Nairobi: The death toll in a ferry capsize in Lake Victoria climbed to more than 100 on Friday, as Tanzanian rescue workers pressed on with searches to find scores of more people feared drowned.
The MV Nyerere may have been carrying as many as 200 passengers — double the ferry’s capacity — when it capsized close to the pier on Ukara Island on Thursday, according to reports on state media.
Witnesses reached by AFP said the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock.
The death toll rose to over 100 on Friday, according to Tanzania’s police chief Simon Sirro, cited by state radio TBC Taifa. Mwanza governor John Mongella had earlier said the number of survivors was 40, but it was unclear whether any new survivors had been found since rescue operations resumed with police and army divers on Friday morning. “Operations are continuing,” he said. Rescue operations were suspended overnight and hopes are fading that more survivors might still be found, a day after the vessel sank. State television cited witnesses reporting that more than 200 people had boarded the ferry at Bugolora, a town on the larger Ukerewe Island, where it was market day when locals said the vessel was usually packed with people and goods.
The ageing ferry, whose hull and propellers were all that remained visible after it overturned, was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas and cement, when it capsized around 50 metres from Ukara dock. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but overloading is frequently to blame for such incidents. (AFP)

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