Lake Victoria boat accident kills at least 20 in Uganda; several missing

Police say five people still missing after overloaded boat sinks on Africa’s largest lake.

MV K-Palm, the cruise boat which capsized and killed at least 32 people, is salvaged by divers in Lake Victoria near Mutima village, south of Kampala, on November 29, 2018. - Most of the victims were young, affluent Ugandans enjoying a raucous end-of-year party, according to a survivor. (Photo by Stringer / AFP)
Lake Victoria has witnessed many boat disasters over the years [File: AFP]

At least 20 people have died and five are missing after an overloaded boat capsized in the Ugandan waters of Lake Victoria.

Police said the vessel was carrying charcoal, fresh foods and fish when the accident happened at 5am (02:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

“The cause of [the] accident is attributed to overloading and bad weather,” the police said on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

Nine passengers were rescued, it added.

Police said rescue efforts to locate the missing people were under way.

“We appeal to members of the public who travel on waters to always wear life jackets and not to over load their vessels,” it added.

Africa’s largest lake is shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. It has a surface area of 70,000sq km (27,000sq miles) – roughly the size of Ireland.

There have been many boat disasters on the oval-shaped lake over the years with the accidents often blamed on overcrowding and poor weather.

At least 32 people died in November 2018 after a pleasure boat sank on Lake Victoria during bad weather. Ugandan police said at the time that the vessel had more than 90 revellers on board.

In September that year, hundreds died when the MV Nyerere passenger ferry sank on the Tanzanian side of Lake Victoria.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies