Over 30 people have died after a party cruise capsized at 7:00 pm in Lake Victoria, Uganda on Sunday, national police officials report.
The ship was allegedly in “poor mechanical shape” when it embarked on a pleasure trip this weekend with almost 100 passengers, exceeding the ferry's capacity by 34 people.
Police spokesman, Patrick Onyango, said, "The boat was overloaded and secondly there was bad weather. Twenty-seven people have so far been rescued. Marine teams are doing whatever they can to find more bodies.”
The boat launched into Africa’s largest lake without a valid operating license, registry, and possibly insurance on its routine weekend cruise with a host of young Ugandans. Despite the best efforts of local fishermen to rescue the floundering passengers, 35 people drowned and dozens reported missing, CNN said.
On his Twitter account, President Yoweri Museveni offered his condolences to families and wrote, "The operators of this boat will be charged with criminal negligence and manslaughter if they have not already been punished for their mistake by dying in the accident."
Transport Minister Aggrey Bagiire said, “Out of this calamity we can now take some steps that are solid and punitive. Someone just buys a yacht and puts it on the water, without having registered it, without taking it for inspection. There is impunity."
Boat accidents are common in Uganda’s lake, which measures 70,000 sq km or roughly the size of Ireland. Just two months ago, 100 lives were lost after their ferry that capsized near Tanzania and in 1966, over 800 people died near the city of Mwanza.