Tanzania ferry capsize: Dozens killed as rescue effort suspended

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Scores of people are feared dead after a Tanzanian passenger ferry in sunk in Lake Victoria Thursday afternoon.

At least 37 people have been rescued, authorities said, but further efforts have been halted until dawn tomorrow (Friday).

Initial estimates showed that the MV Nyerere was carrying more than 300 people on board.

TEMESA in the statement urged Tanzanians to stay calm and be patient as rescue mission continues.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but overloading is frequently to blame.

In 1996, in one of the worst maritime disasters, more than 800 people died when MV Bukoba, ferrying passengers and cargo between Bukoba and Mwanza, capsized.

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A frantic rescue operation is underway in Tanzania where a passenger ferry capsized in Lake Victoria on Thursday.

- By Friday morning, the machine recording the data and the ticketing officer's records had not been traced as search teams gave priority to finding survivors and bodies.

The BBC, citing a local official, reported that over 100 people had been rescued.

The ferry was traveling between Ukara and Bugolora and capsized near the area of Mwanza, the agency said.

Spokeswoman Theresia Mwami denied there being any mechanical problems as the company had carried out heavy maintenance on the ferry in recent months, including two new engines.

The country has been faced with similar tragedies in the past, with at least 145 people dying in a ferry disaster in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean in 2012.