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Tanzania ferry disaster: About 86 dead, hundreds feared missing

Dozens more bodies were recovered on Friday, the morning after a Tanzanian ferry disaster, nearly doubling the death toll to 86, with hundreds more feared missing as rescuers resumed searching for survivors at first light, local newspapers have reported.

A total of 44 bodies were recovered yesterday, and dozens more were found this morning when the rescue operation resumed, Mwanza Regional Commissioner John Mongella confirmed to the Citizen newspaper.

Tanzania’s Electrical, Mechanical and Services Agency, which operates ferry services, said the boat sank on Lake Victoria in north Tanzania on Thursday and rescue operations are underway.

The higher death toll was given to the Citizen newspaper by John Mongella, regional commissioner for the port of Mwanza on the coast of Lake Victoria, where the MV Nyerere sank on Thursday afternoon.

Initial estimates suggested that the ferry was carrying more than 300 people when it went down on Thursday afternoon, just a few metres from the dock on Ukerewe, the lake’s biggest island, which is part of Tanzania.

Tanzania has been hit by several major ferry disasters over the years. At least 500 people were killed when a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria in 1996. In 2012, 145 people died when a ferry sank off the shore of Tanzania’s Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar.

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