A ferry carrying passengers sinks, over 90 dead

MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE – A ferry mishap off the northern coast of Mozambique has resulted in the tragic loss of at least 94 lives, including children, with an additional 26 individuals unaccounted for, according to a representative from the nation’s Maritime Transport Institute (INTRASMAR).

The vessel involved in the incident was an overloaded fishing boat, not authorized for passenger transport, as revealed by Lourenco Machado, an INTRASMAR administrator, during a state television broadcast on Monday.

Machado detailed the calamity that unfolded on Sunday, stating, “A maritime incident occurred where a barge carrying 130 people capsized, resulting in at least 94 fatalities. We have recovered 94 bodies, and 26 are still missing.”

The boat was transporting people from Lunga in Nampula province to Mozambique Island. Initial investigations suggest that a tidal wave may have been the cause of the catastrophe.

The state broadcaster TVM, citing a local maritime administrator, reported that the passengers were fleeing a cholera outbreak. This was further corroborated by Jaime Neto, secretary of state for Nampula province, who added that the boat’s overcrowded condition and lack of suitability for passenger transport led to its sinking. He also confirmed that many of the victims were children.

Social media platforms have been flooded with distressing videos showing numerous bodies on a beach and people carrying the lifeless bodies of children. These videos have not been independently verified by Reuters.

Cholera outbreaks have been plaguing Mozambique and other southern African countries since last year.