Johannesburg - The death toll in a ferry accident off Zanzibar has reached 63, local media reported on Friday.
Officials have expressed concern for dozens of additional passengers on the MV Skagit, which capsized on Wednesday. They said 146 people survived the accident in the Indian Ocean.
The overloaded ship, which was carrying about 290 people, was sailing from Dar-es-Salaam to Zanzibar when it ran into heavy winds, causing the vessel to capsize. At least 30 children were on board.
The governments of Tanzania and Zanzibar declared three days of mourning for the victims.
“The ferry first tilted sharply to one side. It was returning to an upright position when a huge wave crashed on the vessel, flipping it to its side,” recalled passenger Hassan Khatib.
“The impact threw many passengers, including myself, into the water. As you can imagine.it was everybody for himself,” Khatib told the Citizen newspaper.
Other survivors said the crew failed to properly instruct them as the ship was in trouble.
Twelve citizens of Western nations, including four Germans, were among the survivors, emergency officials said.
In September, more than 200 people died when a ferry carrying passengers and cargo sank off the coast of Zanzibar.
The archipelago, which attracts thousands of tourists every year, belongs to Tanzania but enjoys a level of autonomy. - Sapa-dpa IOLSA