Survivor pulled out two days after ferry disaster

A survivor has been pulled out of a capsized ferry on Lake Victoria in Tanzania, two days after the boat sunk with as many as 300 people on board.

The man, an engineer, had shut himself in a “special room” sealed with enough air to allow him to stay alive, according to reports from local member of parliament Joseph Mkundi.

Divers rescued him from inside the MV Nyerere after hearing sounds that indicated signs of life.

The death toll rose above 100 on Friday after a ferry capsized and sank on Lake Victoria, Tanzania state radio reported. 0:54
Video: Ferry capsizes close to Tanzania pier

The man was rushed to hospital immediately, and his condition remains unknown.

Hopes of discovering further survivors remain slim, however. The death toll has risen to 207, with the number of survivors currently standing at 41.

Officials could not confirm the precise number, but believe as many as three times the boat’s capacity of 100 people were aboard the vessel when it capsized about 50 metres from the dock at Ukara island on Thursday afternoon.

Rescue workers examine the hull of the ferry that overturned in Lake Victoria
Image: The ferry overturned in Lake Victoria with hundreds of people on board

The craft was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas and cement for market, and it is thought passengers rushed to one side, unbalancing the ferry, as it prepared to dock.

It now lies with only its rusted propellers and hull visible above the waters of the lake, just a few metres from the dock of its largest island Ukerewe.

Rescue workers are seen at the scene where a ferry overturned in Lake Victoria, Tanzania
Image: The craft was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas and cement

Tanzania’s president John Magufuli has ordered the arrest of the management of the ferry, and says he has already begun to detain those involved.

“It appears clear that the ferry was overloaded,” he said. “Negligence has cost us so many lives… children, mothers, students, old people.”

More from Tanzania

Capsizing is not uncommon in Lake Victoria, which is about the size of Ireland, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact many people in the region cannot swim.

At least 500 people were killed when a ferry capsized in Lake Victoria in 1996.

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