Police reported that twenty people lost their lives after a boat capsized in Ugandan waters on Lake Victoria on Wednesday morning and rescue teams and local residents are currently conducting a search for survivors.
“So far 20 people have been confirmed dead, and nine (9) rescued,” the Uganda police force said on Twitter, which is being rebranded as X.
The boat was transporting charcoal, fresh food, and fish when the accident occurred at approximately 5:00 am (0200 GMT), according to the police.
Authorities attributed the cause of the accident to overloading and adverse weather conditions, stating that around 34 people were believed to be onboard at the time.
Africa’s largest lake has witnessed numerous boat disasters, with the accidents frequently attributed to overcrowding and adverse weather conditions.
In November 2018, thirty-two people lost their lives when a pleasure boat sank on Lake Victoria during bad weather. The Uganda police reported that the vessel was carrying more than 90 revelers at the time of the accident.
In September of the same year, a tragic incident occurred when the MV Nyerere passenger ferry sank on the Tanzanian side of Lake Victoria, resulting in hundreds of fatalities.
Lake Victoria, with a surface area of 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles), is approximately the size of Ireland and has an oval shape. The lake is shared by Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.
Ferries capsizing on the lake is not uncommon, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a scarcity of life jackets and the fact that only a few people know how to swim.
Accidents are also frequent along Lake Albert, which serves as the boundary between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In December 2020, at least 26 people lost their lives when their boat sank on Lake Albert. The incident was attributed to adverse weather conditions.