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Uganda boat tragedy: Over 40 bodies disappear in Lake Victoria

Tuesday November 27 2018

lake victoria

Rescuers search for victims at the site of a capsized cruise boat on Lake Victoria near Mutima village, south of Kampala, Uganda, on November 25, 2018. - Thirty people drowned and more than 60 were feared dead after a pleasure boat sank in Lake Victoria, Ugandan police said, in the latest such incident on Africa's largest body of water. PHOTO | ISAAC KASAMANI | AFP  

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At least 40 passengers who were aboard the ill-fated Ugandan boat that sank in Lake Victoria on Sunday are unaccounted for.

So far, only 59 of more than 100 passengers that were on board when the vessel christened MV Templar sank near Mutima Beach in Mukono District, are accounted for.


Police spokesperson for the rescue and recovery operation Zurah Ganyana on Monday eveing said efforts to find more bodies have been unsuccessful.

“The divers did not find any bodies in the boat. We are trying to turn the sunken boat to see that no human body is stuck at the bottom,” she said.

At least 32 bodies have been recovered, 26 people rescued and an unknown number still unaccounted for.


The boat was sailing from KK Beach at Ggaba Landing Site in Kampala to K- Palm Beach in Mukono District.

Neither the police nor the boat managers at KK Beach have a manifest that can reveal the identities of all the passengers that were aboard the ill-fated boat.

A private diver, Mr Sula Kasujja, who searched around the sunken boat on Monday, said he saw a white cloth below the boat on the lake bed.

The police tied a rope to the sunken boat, which had tilted on one side and started pulling it to allow divers see whether there are bodies underneath.

They called off the operation after failing to turn it on Monday evening.

The first respondents to the accident on Sunday evening said the number of people rescued was more than the official figure given by police.


They said many people who were rescued upon being delivered ashore to avoid identification for diverse reasons.

One of the first respondents said the rescued people, especially women, left the scene as soon as they landed at the shore.

Mr Abdullah Nsubuga, a fisherman, said two coasters, a taxi and dozens of boda boda ferried the rescued persons to different destinations.

“I saw two coasters and a taxi taking the people we had rescued. Others used boda boda cycles,” Mr Nsubuga said on Monday.

Accounts of some survivors, including Mr Arnold Jjuuko Ssimbwa, give credence to Mr Nsubuga’s account that some of the rescued people used public service vehicles to disappear.

“We boarded the taxi, eight of us and headed for Mukono. Half way the trip, the driver started demanding Sh50,000 from each…, but later we negotiated for Sh20,000. He dropped us somewhere in Nakifuma and we boarded another taxi to Kampala,” Mr Jjuuko’s statement released by journalist Reuben Luyombo stated.

Kampala East regional police commander Michael Musani, who arrived at the scene Sunday night, said many of the people rescued did not want their identities recorded by police.

Godfrey Musisi and Sylvia Namukasa were reported by relatives as missing but it was not confirmed whether they were on the ill-fated boat.