Lake Malawi boat tragedy survivor recalls bag of flour that saved his life

A 67-year-old Graciam Kondowe who was among 54 passengers who police say survived after the Kayokha boat overturned in stormy weather on  Lake Malawi in Rumphi, Sunday has said he escaped death by clinging to a bag of maize flour.

One of the survivors with Rumphi police station officer James Mpezeni (left)

Kondowe said he was in the boat which was hired for K45,000 from owner  69-year-old Harrison  Ngwira of  Kabenu village, Traditional Authority  Mbwana in Nkhatabay  by members of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), back from Easter celebrations, heading to Tchalo in Rumphi.

He recalled  that heavy winds buffeted the boat about 15 minutes into their journey but they proceeded with the journey.

“But the wind was getting more strong and water getting into the boat,” Kondowe sad.

Kondowe said the operator attempted to sail offshore after sensing danger but the boat capsized before they could get back.

“There was panick and wailing. I saw a breastfeeding baby and her mother dying hopelessly,” he said.

Kondowe said he held on to a bag of maize flour which fell out of the boat, and eventually swam his way to safety.

The Kayokha boat was designed to  carry between 30 to 40 passengers but on the fateful day it overloaded with 79 passengers.

Six people  are confirmed dead  while 20 are still missing, police said.

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17 thoughts on “Lake Malawi boat tragedy survivor recalls bag of flour that saved his life”

  1. Festus says:

    May their souls rest in peace, am deepily touched.

  2. Tembo D.J says:

    RIP to those who lost their lives.

  3. Kaulanda says:

    The recent incidence that resulted in deaths of boat passengers,has shocked the entire nation.I would like to thank the Minister of Finance Mr.G.Gondwe,Rev. Nyondo and other leaders from neighbouring areas for their presence at the place of the occurrence of which,the State President failed to showup at this place where a good number of citizens lost their lives in the lake.Also the most disturbing scenario is the absence of the MP who represents the area Mr.Kamlepo Karua.Besides that,he was born there,grewup there and attended school there,but did not go any further than form two.He went to South Africa to look for work where he endedup in Hotels working as cleaner and waiter in J’burg.After the multi-party arrived in Malawi,as an opportunist he joined politics and the first elections,he lost in one of Blantyre Constituencies and then went to settle down in Mangoche and ran again,but also failed to secure a seat and from there he decided to go to Mlowe where he was born and grew,being a son of the area,this time he won through lies and sweet-talks.Remember,empty bucket makes a lot of noise.With the absence of Muthalika,at the scene as the Head of State,this brings into our country dangerous political divisions,what if this had happened in Lomwe lands of Cholo and Mulanje. Could he have locked himself in the State House? No Mr.President,that is not good leadership,we now know that you have nothing to do with the people of the North,anyway,you are not God,you found the North and you will leave it for the people there to chart their own destiny.Malawians,you are great people,you have shown your love to fellow Malawians in dire need of help and sympathy.MAY GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!

  4. Chipapwiche Kajhalwiche says:

    Boat owner Harrison Ngwira of Kabenu Village, Traditional Authority Mbwana in Nkhatabay must go to jail immediately and held accountable for the innocent lives that were lost. May their souls rest in piece.

  5. Nyerere ndiye ineyo says:

    Praise your living God and not a bag of flour.

  6. George Kungwalu says:

    ACTION MUST BE TAKEN TO THE OWNER OF THE BOAT

  7. yandula says:

    Very sad development indeed; the authorities are failing Malawians; why allow unregistered vessel carry people on our waters? It’s like taking unlicensed vehicle on the nation’s roads carrying MATOLA!

  8. samson seleman says:

    But not control themselve in terms of the number of people loaded in such a small boat?

  9. Mfulu says:

    Mulungu alandire mizimu ya anthu amene atisiyawa.

    1. Anzijo says:

      Amen

  10. grevazio sinoya says:

    very sad

  11. kalongonda says:

    R.I.P mai Nyagondwe.We will meet in Heaven. used to be a pillar of Mfulu people

  12. Monday says:

    What a loss. Communities should also play a role in ensuring boats, buses etc carry the right number of passengers. Otherwise we continue complaining after loss of such vital lives is already done.

  13. God is Awesome! please surrender your life to Jesus as soon as possible because God has given you another chance of your life with a purpose. Don’t hesitate to do it.

  14. The bible said any one dies for the name of Jesus will be saved. I pray in the name of Jesus.To us who are alive at this moment.indeed we are complaining about our fellows who were capsized in Lake malawi in Rumphi district but GOD,GOD was aware about this.Remember we are visitors on this earth one day in future God will call us in his glorious thrown.Amen.

  15. kings says:

    Very sad development indeed, it is high time these boat owners should comply to sea worthiness regulations otherwise they should face the law.

    1. monalisa says:

      Overloading of a boat has nothing to do with sea worthiness. Even an overloaded sea worthy boat can capsize.

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