At least 44 dead after Tanzanian ferry capsizes

Hopes were fading of finding any more survivors by day three of the search effort

John Mongella, the commissioner of Mwanza, says 37 people have been rescued after Thursday's capsizing.

He couldn't say how many people were on the ferry until the search-and-rescue operation was over.

"According to reports that President John Magufuli has just received from the authorities in Mwanza, the toll now stands at more than 40 dead", Gerson Msigwa, the president's spokesman said on state television according to an early media report.

TEMESA in the statement urged Tanzanians to stay calm and be patient as rescue mission continues.

Rescuers were frantically searching for those trapped on board the MV Nyerere on Thursday evening after the boat began to sank en route between the island of Bugolora and Ukara.

While the ferry has a capacity of about 100 passengers, it was said to be carrying more than its capacity, in addition to cargo.

Tanzania ferry disaster: Hundreds feared dead as 'overcrowded' boat sinks in Lake Victoria
Tanzania ferry accident: Hundreds feared dead as boat capsizes at Lake Victoria

The exact number of people on board is hard to determine, with Reuters reporting that the person dispensing tickets was among those who drowned, and that recording data has also been lost.

The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency confirmed the accident.

Spokeswoman Theresia Mwami said it had not been established exactly how many people were on board.

Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake, which is surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

Scores are feared after MV Nyerere, a Tanzanian ferry sunk in Lake Victoria today afternoon.

And in 2011 almost 200 people were killed when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania's Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar.

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