More than 90 dead when boat sinks off Mozambique coast

Henry

More than 90 people have died after an overloaded temporary ferry sank off the north coast of Mozambique.

The converted fishing boat, with about 130 people on board, ran into trouble en route to an island off Nampula province, officials said.

“Because the boat was overloaded and not fit to carry passengers, it eventually sank. There are 91 people who lost their lives,” said Nampula’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jaime Neto. Many of the victims were children, he added.

Rescue workers found five survivors, but sea conditions complicated the rescue operation.

Most of the passengers apparently boarded the boat in an attempt to get away from the mainland due to fears caused by misinformation about cholera, Neto said. Almost 15,000 cases and 32 deaths have been recorded since October.

Nampula is the worst affected region. In recent months, the province has also experienced a large influx of people fleeing Cabo Delgado due to a wave of jihadist attacks.

Neto said an investigation team is working to establish the exact cause of the boat disaster.

The boat was on its way to Mozambique Island, a small coral island and now a world heritage site.