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23 dead, dozens missing in L. Victoria boat tragedy

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By DAILY MONITOR
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At least 23 people have been confirmed dead and dozens others missing after a boat capsized on Lake Victoria on Saturday evening, Uganda police said.

The cruise boat, carrying close to a hundred revellers went down in Mpatta Sub-county in Mukono District, about 30km east of the capital Kampala.

“It is a sad moment. UPDF and UPF marine units continue on a search and rescue mission on the waters of Lake Victoria for survivors and those perished in the boat cruise from KK beach,” army spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire said in a statement.

Asuman Mugenyi, director of operations for the police said overloading and bad weather were likely to blame.

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“We expect (the number of passengers) is beyond the capacity of the boat. It was overloaded and unfortunately people were drunk,” Mugenyi said.

“We suspect the mechanical condition of the boat and the weather contributed to the sinking,” he added.

Bodies have been taken to Kampala City Mortuary for post-mortem.

In September an overloaded MV Nyerere passenger ferry overturned in Lake Victoria, off the Tanzania coast, killing over 200 people.

It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize on the lake and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many local people cannot swim.

In 1966, more than 800 people lost their lives on Lake Victoria when the MV Bukoba sank off the mainland town of Mwanza, according to the Red Cross.

—Additional reporting by AFP

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