Tanzania ferry accident toll reaches 156
Dar Es Salaam : At least 156 people have died in Tanzania's ferry accident that took place earlier this week, officials said on Saturday.
"We have recovered 25 more bodies this morning," Tanzania's Minister for Works, Transport and Communications Isack Kamwelwe told Xinhua news agency. Rescuers were continuing to search for more bodies.
The national broadcaster Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation, however, said on its morning news bulletin that the total number of recovered bodies in Lake Victoria had reached 161.
On Friday, Tanzanian President John Magufuli announced a four-day mourning period. The ferry with a capacity for 101 passengers and 25 tonnes of cargo capsized on Thursday.
Magufuli ordered the arrest of safety inspectors from the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority, the country's multi-sector transport regulatory agency.
Preliminary investigations showed that the state-owned ferry was overloaded and was being manned by someone who was not the authorized captain of the vessel.
Magufuli directed Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and Minister Kamwelwe to launch a full investigation into the accident.
There has been public outrage over the decision made by regional authorities of Mwanza Region, whose north borders Lake Victoria, to call off the search and rescue operation after dark on Thursday.
Some opposition leaders called for the resignation of top transport officials over the tragedy. The last major ferry accident on Lake Victoria occurred in 1996 in the same region, killing at least 500 people.