Overloaded boat

Seven more bodies have been retrieved from Lake Albert after victims drowned in a tragic accident that occurred yesterday afternoon after the boat they were travelling in capsized.

The boat that was transporting a local football team and fans from Foso Landing Site to Runga Landing Site, in Kigorobya, Hoima district, capsized a few minutes after it had taken off.

According to police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, a total of 32 occupants managed to survive after they were rescued as others swam to the shores.

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Enanga said Marine Response Teams from the Police and UPDF, with members of the community retrieved the capsized boat and recovered two bodies that were trapped underneath. “An additional seven dead bodies have been recovered this afternoon, bringing the total number of the dead to nine,” he said.

Some of the dead have been identified as; Nyayenga Sande female adult of 22 years, Sisto Olarworth 20 years, Kotu Jareth 19 years, Anita Janet 18 years, Ayera Biwaga 18 years, Majid, Oyeny Dollar Winnie, Omirambe Jackisa 23 years and, Pasco 18 years. The bodies were transported to Hoima Referral Hospital for post-mortem before they could be handed over to the immediate relatives for burial.

“We want to commend the search teams for their efforts in finding the bodies of all missing persons that drowned in the lake. The tragic incident, demonstrates how the industry is still full of operators who ignore safety recommendations thus making passengers vulnerable as they travel on waters,” he said.

He urged all boat operators on Ugandan waters to adhere to the maritime safety precautions in place, and also work closely with the inspectors from the Ministry of Works and Transport, to streamline their operation on the waters.

“The incident is currently under investigation after it was established that the landing site is ungazetted, no life jackets and manifests or registers for passengers, the boats are neither inspected nor licensed to operate, and with no established management structures in place,” he said.

The incident follows Lake Victoria tragic accident that claimed lives of 32 people in November last year when the ferry they were travelling in sank.