Uganda Police Force’s rescue team has recovered the lifeless bodies of five individuals following a devastating boat accident that occurred on August 2, 2023.
The ill-fated incident unfolded on Lake Victoria, claiming the lives of 20 out of the 30 people who were aboard a wooden boat destined for Kasenyi landing site in Entebbe.
SSP Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, shared the grim update, stating, “As of now, only five bodies, all of them female adults, have been recovered out of the 20 individuals who were reported missing.”
The recovered bodies were conveyed to Kasenyi landing site for identification before being handed over to their grieving relatives who had camped at the landing site.
The victims have been identified as Edith Najjuma, Proscovia Namulondo, Winnie Nankya, Zamu Longose, and Gladys Nabiseera, all females. However, the fate of 15 other passengers, including men, women, and children.
Onyango further clarified that the boat was carrying 30 passengers as opposed to the earlier reported 34.
Among these, ten survived the horrific ordeal, while the whereabouts of the remaining 15 remain unknown.
As government agencies tirelessly continue to sweep the deep waters for the missing victims, local fishermen at the Lwanabatya landing site have expressed their frustration with the slow recovery efforts.
Lawrence Ssekanjako, one of the fishermen, shed light on the challenges faced during such tragedies, revealing that bodies can take 3 to 4 days to resurface after drowning in the deep waters.
Ssekanjako recommended that the authorities enlist the help of the experienced local fishermen in the area to aid in the search. “Only 5 out of 20 bodies! By this time, all bodies would be floating on water or dragged towards the shores by water waves. I suggest that police involve fishermen in Nsazi to help in the search,” he emphasized.
The identification exercise had been hampered by traditional private wooden boat operators keeping no record of passengers on board. This has also added to the complexity of the recovery operation.
Monitor had early Thursday reported that the ill-fated boat was overloaded, which may have contributed to the disaster.
Eyewitnesses corroborated the report claiming, the boat initially believed to be carrying 34 passengers, was also burdened with heavy cargo as it departed from the Lwanabatya Landing Site in Kalangala District.
Police have assured the public that the rescue team has intensified the search for the missing Victims.
The August 2nd boat accident is among the many that have claimed the lives of thousands of Ugandans highlighting the dangers faced by those navigating the vast waters of Lake Victoria.
In November 2018, a boat carrying close to 90 revelers capsized in Lake Victoria killing over 30. This leaves questions on whether the government has failed to enforce regulations on boat capacity and cargo limits.