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.
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.