At least nine people have been killed and 21 others are missing, according to local news media, after a boat carrying a Ugandan football team and their fans capsized in Lake Albert – Africa’s seventh largest lake.
The passengers, who were from Kaweibanda village in the western district of Buliisa, were travelling to Hoima District for a football match as part of the Christmas day festivities on Sunday, the Ugandan news agency Daily Monitor said.
Daily Monitor quoted John Rutagira, a police official from Buliisa, as saying out of a total of 45 people on board the boat, nine bodies had been recovered and 15 others confirmed as survivors of the accident.
“They overloaded the boat. Eyewitnesses have told police that most of the passengers sat on one side of the boat making it lose balance,” Rutagira said on Monday.
The news agency also quoted a witness by the name of Opira as saying that there were no strong winds at the time of the accident and whoever could swim to shore survived it.
According to The Ugandan, another local news agency, Lake Alberta, which is one of the world’s largest lakes and also borders neighbouring DR Congo, has a history of boat accidents.
It cited some of the most tragic examples, including one that occured in 2014 when about 250 people – most of whom were Congolese refugees – died after their boat capsized as they tried to cross into Uganda.
And in August 2010, a boat accident claimed the lives of 33 people while 17 others survived while travelling on the lake.