Death toll 209 as survivor found in capsized Tanzania ferry

More bodies are expected to be found on the capsized MV Nyerere

Tanzania's president, John Magufuli, has ordered the arrest of the managers of the ferry, which may have been carrying as many as 300 people when it capsized near the dock on the Ukara Island.

President John Magufuli has ordered the arrests of those responsible. He said at least 40 people were rescued shortly after the Thursday accident and that some of those individuals were in "very bad condition".

It now lies with only its rusted propellers and hull visible above the waters of the lake, just a few metres from the dock of its largest island Ukerewe. Some of the deadliest have occurred in Tanzania, where aging passenger ferries often carry hundreds of passengers and well beyond capacity.

"We regret that at the moment there are 209 dead in total, 172 of whom have already been identified by relatives", said Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe during a press conference broadcast by the public television TBC 1.

Another Tanzanian official, Mwanza regional commissioner John Mongella, told reporters that an engineer was found alive near the engine of the capsized vessel.

According to him, the ferry has a capacity of carrying only 100 passengers and 25 tonnes of cargo but it had more than 400 people.

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"But it is obvious that more bodies are trapped in the capsized vessels", he said, adding operations will continue to ensure all bodies are recovered. He said all the passengers on board had moved to one side of the boat. "They had gone to the market in Bugolora to buy a school uniform and other supplies for the new school term", said Domina Maua, who was among those seeking information about loved ones.

"I am asking the government to prepare rescue teams in Tanzania because we have the marines, police and navy", Farki said.

The president announced four days of mourning from Friday and said the national flag will fly half-mast.

Capsizes are not uncommon in the massive lake, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many people in the region can not swim.

The country's opposition accused the government of negligence saying it was "another failure of the authorities".

Almost 200 people died in 2011 when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania's Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar. "We have repeatedly denounced this negligence".

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