Government has said Malawi Defence Force (MDF) divers from Chilumba Barracks on Monday joined the rescue efforts for people feared dead after an overloaded wooden boat carrying more than 79 passengers , members of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), back from Easter celebrations capsized on Lake Malawi in Rumphi District.
MDF have been asked to join the search operation after Malawi Police efforts could not beer fruits due to lack of marine department at Rumphi Police station.
Malawi Police , hospital authorities and government confirmed that at least six churchgoers died.
A statement issued by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) said that the people died in the incident, which took place on Easter Sunday in the northern district of Rumphi.
It said the boat capsized at a distance of about 100 metres into the Lake Malawi soon after sail-off.
“Preliminary figures indicate that the boat was carrying 79 passengers. The boat was on its way to New Salawe in Nkhata Bay via Tchalo, Zunga and Old Salawe in Rumphi,” reads the statement/.
According to Dodma, the current information on the ground, 54 people survived during the accident after being rescued by people from surrounding communities assisted by military personnel, while “some swam back to the shore.”
“ Five (5) people have been confirmed dead, while twenty (20) people are reported to be missing by their relatives,” Dodma statement said.
Bodies were discovered floating in the water.
Government assured that the Malawi Defence Force officers from Chilumba Barracks are on site of the accident “to continue searching for those missing, in collaboration with the Malawi Police Service until they complete the rescue exercise.”
In the statement, government extended condolences to the bereaved families for having lost their beloved ones during this tragic accident.
“Government undertakes to provide assistance towards the cost of the funeral arrangements of the victims of the accident and hospital bills of those who are receiving medical attention in hospital following this misfortune,” reads the statement.
The boat which belongs to 69-year-old Harrison Ngwira of Kabenu village, Traditional Authority Mbwana in Nkhatabay was believed to have been overloaded, according to police.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :