Death toll from Uganda boat capsize rises to 31


Ugandan diving teams are retrieving bodies from Lake Victoria, where police say at least 30 people died in a boat accident near the capital, Kampala.

The boat was taking passengers on a pleasure cruise on Lake Victoria, a popular weekend activity for young people in Kampala.

"UPDF marine divers are entering the deep waters in the next few minutes to reach the lake bed where the boat is".

Lt Col Deo Akiiki, deputy military spokesperson, told Xinhua by telephone that search and rescue operation will continue but there are little hopes of finding survivors since the boat capsized on Saturday night.

"If people had help earlier so many more people would have survived", Matovo said.

Rescue operations are still underway with the Uganda Police Force Marine Unit confirming that at least 40 people had been rescued from the capsized boat. "Help us!' and the boat was sinking very quickly", said Sam Tukei, one of several local men who used fishermen's canoes to rescue people.

The police added that the boat was in a poor mechanical shape.

Richard Kikongo, a local official, described the distinctive boat -- which sported shark-style teeth painted on the bow -- as "not in good condition".

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Overloading and bad weather were likely to blame, according to authorities.

Image: The boat could be seen under the water.

Matovo said some of the rescuers also drowned as a result.

A woman sheds tears at the rescue site of the capsized cruise boat on lake Victoria.

President Yoweri Kagiuta Museveni has mourned all those that perished in a boat accident that occurred on Lake Victoria yesterday evening.

In September an overloaded MV Nyerere passenger ferry overturned in Lake Victoria, off the Tanzania coast, killing over 200 people.

Over the years, boat accidents have claimed many lives because the country lacks proper regulations and robust policing.

She narrated that they tried to cling on the boat as they screamed but majority were already drunk and had taken off their life jackets.