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31 dead, 123 missing in Tanzania ferry disaster

07-19-2012 16:08 BJT

STONE TOWN, Tanzania, July 19 (Xinhua) -- At least 31 people drowned and 123 others were still missing after a ferry sank off Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago of Tanzania, as search and rescue efforts still continued Thursday.

Ali Mohamed Shein, president of Zanzibar, offered condolences to the bereaved families and announced a three-day mourning for the victims.

Seven children were among the dead as preliminary information indicated there were a total of 290 people on board, including nine crews and 31 children, when the ill-fated ferry MV Skagit capsized in the Indian Ocean Wednesday afternoon.

The ferry was heading to Zanzibar from the capital of Dar es Salaam when it sank near Chumbe, a coral park and former army base, about 10 km from Unguja, Zanzibar's main island.

Strong wind and high waves were blamed for the tragedy, which according to the survivors, led to engine failure and consequent tilting and sinking of the vessel.

Another ferry accident in September last year in the waters near northern Unguja killed over 200 passengers, including many children and women, due to overloading.



Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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