At least 163 dead in Zanzibar ferry capsize, 100 missing

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Zanzibar (Tanzania), Sep 10: At least 163 people died when a ferry capsized off the popular tourist archipelago of Zanzibar, but over 100 people are still missing, a minister said today (Sep 10).

"We have recovered 163 people who have died and we have rescued 325 survivors," said Mohammed Aboud, Zanzibar's state minister for emergencies, dramatically updating an earlier death toll of 53.

At least 40 of those rescued were seriously injured, including some hit by falling debris as the boat rolled onto one side, he said, adding that the death toll could still rise higher.

Officials said that around 600 people were believed to have been on the stricken ferry, including families returning home after the holidays to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Survivors have begun arriving back in Stone Town, the main port and capital of the archipelago, with an emergency first aid centre set up in the port to treat those arriving by rescue speed boat from the capsized ferry.

"It was terrifying, people were screaming and shouting in the dark," said Aisha Mohammed, aged seven.

"I can't find my mummy, I lost her when we were all in the water," she added, after being picked up by a rescue boat.

Other survivors angrily accused port and ferry officials of overloading the boat.

"We were shouting at the captain and at the people in the port even before we left that the boat was too full, it was packed with people and with cargo," said Zaid Amour, a 50-year-old survivor. 

AFP

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