At least 31 feared dead as overcrowded boat sinks in Uganda

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At least 31 people have died in Uganda after a party boat carrying more than 90 people capsized in Lake Victoria near the capital, Kampala, officials said on Sunday.

The boat overturned and sank about 7 p.m. Saturday, said a senior police officer, Zurah Ganyana. She said that 27 people were rescued overnight. Officials said the death toll was expected to rise.

Officials said the boat had been taking passengers on a pleasure cruise, a popular weekend activity for young people in Kampala, but it capsized close to shore.

Officer Ganyana said the boat had been in poor condition and had been grounded for some time. She said it did not have a valid license to operate.

Early Sunday, a police helicopter hovered low over the spot where the boat sank, as a team of divers searched for bodies under calm waters. A crowd of onlookers stood on a beach and watched the rescue and recovery efforts.

The police carried victims’ bodies in tarpaulins to a truck, occasionally drawing loud wails from some of the onlookers. One young woman, seeing a victim she apparently recognized, collapsed and was take to the hospital.

 

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