Seventy Killed in Lake Albert Disaster

Published on Tuesday 3rd August 2010

SEVENTY-three people are feared dead after their boat capsized on Lake Albert on Saturday night. The mishap occurred at Kakoma in Runga village, Kigolobya sub-county in Hoima district.

By press time, the Police, assisted by local residents, had rescued 17 people. A body of an adult female and those of four children were recovered.

The boat was heading northwards from Hoimo landing site to Panymur market in Nebbi district, an eight-hour journey, according to local fishermen.

On the boat were traders from Hoimo and Fofo landing sites in Buseruka and others from Nebbi, school children and tonnes of fish and luggage.

According to survivors, the boat left Runga early in the evening, but the coxswain kept adding more passengers from several landing sites.

They narrated that at about 9:00pm at Kawowa landing site, he warned the passengers of a coming storm and asked some to get off the boat. Only nine agreed to do so.

"He even tried to return the money but they forced him to continue with everyone on board," said one of the survivors.

The officer in charge of Hoima Police Station, Romeo Ojara, said the accident was caused by overloading.

Preliminary information indicated that there were over 90 people on board. "The boat had a capacity of 40 people and two tonnes of fish, but it was carrying about 90 people plus luggage," Ojara said.

A beach management committee official, Robert Baguma, said the boat was not licensed to carry passengers and had no life-jackets.

Crowds last evening camped at Runga awaiting information about the victims. Mungunyika Oyewa, a pupil of Buhinza Primary School in Kigolobya sub-county, said his 10-year-old brother died.

Residents said the Marine Police in Butiaba, 10km away from Runga, had not yet arrived by press time.



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