More than 200 feared dead as Tanzania ferry sinks in Lake Victoria

At least 86 people are dead after a ferry capsized and sank on Lake Victoria with the death toll likely to rise according to officials

John Mongella, the commissioner of Mwanza, says 37 people have been rescued after Thursday's capsizing.

At least 44 people have already been confirmed dead, Ukerewe District Commission Colonel Lucas Magembe said.

He said 42 people were confirmed dead so far.

However, it was hard to establish just how many passengers there were as the person dispensing tickets drowned with the machine recording the data.

According to the Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency, which operates ferry services, the ferry capsized a few metres before docking.

However, reports from a local FM station in Mwanza indicated that the ferry had more than 400 people on board at the time of the incident and that majority may have drowned.

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The cause of the accident was not immediately clear, but overloading is frequently found to blame.

Spokeswoman Theresia Mwami said it had not been established exactly how many people were on board. He feared "a significant number have lost their lives".

The ferry had been travelling between the islands of Ukara and Bugolora and capsized near the area of Mwanza, the agency said.

Some of the deadliest have occurred in Tanzania, where passenger boats are often said to be old and in poor condition.

The country has been faced with similar tragedies in the past, with at least 145 people dying in a ferry disaster in the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean in 2012.

President John Magufuli has sent his condolences to victims of a ferry accident that has killed at least 42 people according to a statement from State House.

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