44 dead as Tanzanian ferry capsizes on Lake Victoria

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The number of victims in the crash of a passenger ferry on lake Victoria in Tanzania has increased to 86 people.

Rescuers are still searching for hundreds more who may have been aboard the ship, which sunk Thursday afternoon in Lake Victoria. "But no one knows" just how many people were on board.

The disaster underlines the issue of risky overcrowding on ferries in the region.

Poor visibility halted rescue operations Thursday, but rescue efforts continued Friday.

Local media say the ferry's official capacity was 100 people, but officials say the vessel was carrying more than 400 passengers when it capsized.

In a televised address, the president said the ferry captain had been detained after leaving the steering to someone who was not properly trained.

Davita Ngenda, an elderly woman in Ukara, wept as she said.

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It was obvious that more bodies were trapped in the overturned ferry, the president said, according to The Citizen report. "My God, what did I do to deserve this?"

"Since my birth, people have gone to their deaths on this lake, but what are we to do?"

"We try to make calls to friends, relatives", a local guide, Paschal Phares, said.

The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but overloading is frequently found to blame.

The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency, which operates ferry services, said the MV Nyerere did not have any mechanical problems with maintenance completed in recent months.

MV Nyerere connected Bugolora islands in Ukerewe district, Mwanza province, according to the Tanzanian Ministry of Construction, Transport and Communication. "We have repeatedly denounced this negligence", said John Mnyika, the deputy secretary-general of Chadema, the main opposition party.

Lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake by area, and the world's second largest freshwater lake by surface area, after Lake Superior in North America. Officials said more than 130 people were killed when the overcrowded boat capsized.

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