Toll in Tanzania ferry disaster nears 200

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- An overloaded ferry sank off the coast of Tanzania, and officials said Saturday the death toll was approaching 200.

Emergency responders had rescued more than 600 survivors after the MV Spice Islander capsized overnight while traveling between Zanzibar's main island Unguja, and Pemba, the archipelago's other main island.


The Italian news agency Agenzia Giornalistica Italia reported Zito Zuberi Kabwe, a member of the Tanzanian Parliament, said the death toll had reached 198 and Time magazine reported Tanzanian police had placed the total number of bodies recovered at 192.

AGI said there were more than 800 people on board -- more than 200 above the vessel's passenger limit.

The Zanzibar government has called on all reserve forces to assist in the rescue efforts and also asked for help from South Africa and Kenya.

Helicopters are being used to help guide boats to survivors.

"There were a few boats that had made their way out. They were looking for survivors, but although the sea wasn't so rough, the waves were high so it was difficult for them to spot them. We flew to the boats and guided them to the survivors so that they could pick them up. There were also quite a few bodies in the water," helicopter pilot Captain Neels van Eijk told the BBC.


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