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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
Khalfan Said/AP/Press Association Images The president of Zanzibar, Ali Mohammed Shein, left, helps a survivor.

More than 200 bodies recovered off Zanzibar coast after crowded ferry sinks

At least 200 people have been confirmed dead after a ferry sank off the coast of Zanzibar, an island off Tanzania in Africa. The country is to observe three days of national mourning for the victims of the tragedy.

MORE THAN 200 bodies have been recovered after a crowded ferry sank off the coast of the island of Zanzibar yesterday.

According to the Associated Press, some 600 people have been rescued. The passenger numbers released after the accident seem to indicate that the boat was over-crowded.

The ferry was only licensed to carry 600 people, according to the BBC but there were well over 800 passengers on board when it sank between Zanzibar’s main islands of Unguja and Pemba.

Survivors have claimed that there were too many people on the boat. Those who survived did so by clinging to foam mattresses and wooden planks before they were picked up by pleasure craft, fishing boats and yachts which were sent out on search and rescue missions yesterday.

Minister for State Mohammed Aboud Mohammed said the government is questioning the chief engineer but is still looking for the captain of the vessel. The owner of the ferry is not known.

Mohammed also said the government would pay for the funeral costs of all victims. Their bodies have been taken to a sports field.

A local radio station has reported that there is no more hope of finding any more survivors.

“We will continue to look for bodies, but there is no hope any more of finding people alive. We are looking for the bodies so they can be buried,” police spokesman Mohamed Mhina said.

Tanzania is now observing three days of national mourning for the victims of the tragedy.

-Additional reporting by AP

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