The ferry sank on Thursday evening just a few metres from the dock on Ukerewe, the lake’s biggest island. The official cause of the accident is yet to be determined, however the vessel was believed to carry more people than permitted, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, BBC reported that the overloaded vessel toppled over when crowds onboard moved to one side as it docked.
Boat accidents on Lake Victoria, which is shared by the East African countries of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, are common often caused by lax safety laws, weak enforcement and poorly maintained vessels. In 2012, over 145 people died when a ferry sank while transporting people to the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean. In 2011, almost 200 people lost their lives in another major incident off Zanzibar.
As such, the people involved in this tragedy have been detained. In addition, a special investigation commission of experts will be deployed to investigate the causes of the accident.
A search and rescue team has been also attempting to flip the vessel back to its normal position so it can be towed to the dock, which could take two to three days.