86 dead after Tanzania ferry sinks on Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is bordered by Uganda Kenya and Tanzania

It is feared more than 200 people could be dead after a ferry sunk in Tanzania's Lake Victoria on Thursday.

44 people were confirmed dead and 37 rescued by Thursday evening when MV Nyerere ferry from Ukara to Bugolora market in Tanzania's northern Mwanza region.

Ukerewe district commissioner Colonel Lucas Magembe told Reuters the rescue mission to find survivors from Thursday's disaster has been halted until dawn on Friday.

The Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency, which is in charge of maintaining the country's ferries, said that hundreds of people are still missing and called for patience.

"It is unfortunate that our operation on the lake is no longer rescue but largely recovery", said the Commissioner.

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

Our reporter says the ferry's engines were recently replaced after local MP Joseph Mkundi complained about the previous ones.

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The boat sank in the afternoon near the dock at Ukerewe district.

The ferry is believed to have had hundreds of people on board, though officials are yet to confirm the number of passengers.

At least 10 people were reported to have died after a packed ferry sank on Lake Victoria.

Some 200 people were killed after an overloaded vessel - carrying more than 1,000 passengers despite an official capacity of only 620 - hit strong winds off the island of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean in 2011.

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

Lake Victoria witnessed tragedy in 1996 when the steamer MV Bukoba capsized in one of the worst ferry disasters of the 20th century.

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