Man survives for over two days in capsized ferry

Onlookers bore witness to a grim rescue operation on Friday

Onlookers bore witness to a grim rescue operation on Friday

A man has been rescued from a ferry that capsized on Lake Victoria, Tanzania, two days after it overturned with the loss of at least 170 lives. As the badly overloaded ferry overturned on Thursday in the final stretch before reaching shore, the man shut himself into the engine room, the Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Bodies are still being taken out of the water, and the death toll is expected to rise further.

Investigators examine the capsized ferry MV Nyerere, in Lake Victoria, Tanzania, Sept. 21, 2018.

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.

A total of 500 people lost their lives when a ferry capsized on Lake Victoria in 1996.

Initial estimates showed that the ferry was carrying more than 300 people between Bugolora and Ukara Island, but the exact number of passengers remains unknown. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but overloading is frequently to blame for such incidents.

It has emerged that the captain of MV Nyerere ferry wasn't in it when it capsized in Lake Victoria on Thursday, killing over 130 people. Coffins were lined up nearby awaiting bodies being pulled from the vessel, which lay belly up in the water just meters from the shoreline.

Only the ferry's underside has been exposed since the capsizing on Thursday afternoon that killed 167 people.

Tanzania's president John Magufuli, who announced four days of national mourning, said the captain of the ferry - who was not on board at the time of the disaster - had been arrested.

"He called me and said he was in trouble", Musa told The Citizen.

President John Magufuli ordered the arrest of those responsible for the sinking on Friday.

The country's opposition, however, accused the government of negligence. "We have repeatedly denounced this negligence", said John Mnyika, deputy secretary general of the main opposition party Chadema.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Uganda and Kenya offered their condolences, while Pope Francis in a statement expressed "the greatest solidarity with those who have been bereaved".

Ferries in Tanzania are often overcrowded, with the lack of an accurate passenger manifest, complicating rescue operations.