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Boat capsizes on L.Victoria with unknown number of passengers

FILE Passenger boats on the lake

FILE Passenger boats on the lake

A passenger boat has capsized on Lake Victoria in Kalangala islands with an unknown number of travellers. The ill-fated boat capsized on Wednesday night while ferrying passengers from Kasenyi landing site in Katabi town council, Wakiso district to Kisaba island in Kalangala district. 

Preliminary reports by fishermen indicate that boat could have broken down when fishing nets got stuck in its engine. Moses Musiitwa, a fisherman at Kasenyi landing site, says that the boat capsized between Lukuba and Misenyi island after being hit by strong winds on the lake.

“The lake has since Saturday been experiencing unusual strong winds, which usually lead to large waves. This could have worsened the situation after the engine stopped because the boat could not float freely,” he said. 

Musiitwa says that although some fishermen responded to the incident, they did not manage to rescue anybody alive. He, however, says that they are optimistic that some passengers could have escaped towards the floating rock in the area, where the incident happened. 

Kalangala LC V chairperson, Rajab Ssemakula and Julius Kawalya, one of the residents, says that the boat could have capsized with over 20 passengers although some of the passengers reportedly disembarked from the boat at Lukuba landing site in Kalangala.      

"Because of the bad weather, some passengers heading to Kisaba disembarked and used boda bodas to Kisaba. When the boat left for Kisaba, the engines got stuck in the laid fishing nets and capsized,” Ssemakula said.

Adding that “As of now some people are on surrounding stones. There are rescuers from the surrounding areas trying to save those who are still alive. We don't know yet how many died but among the survivors is the coxswain."

Kawalya also notes that "when the boat reached Lukuba, some people got off because it was becoming late to use land to Kisaba. However, when it had started on its way to Kisaba it got distorted by the fishing nets and it capsized. Marine police officers and rescuers are still looking for the people as I talk now."   

Saidi Kayongo, the LC I chairperson of Kasenyi landing site, says that he is yet to confirm how many people boarded the boat on Wednesday. Alfred Jakech, a marine officer attached to Kalangala marine office told URN that they were heading to Lukuba landing site.

“I have only heard about one survivor but we shall establish how many people were on board, how many have survived or died,” he said. 

It should be recalled that in November 2018, President Yoweri Museveni ordered "the electronic registration and monitoring of all the boats so that we can know who is where on the lake and why." following a boat accident on Lake Victoria that left 31 people dead. 

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