Nine Lives Lost, Four Cling To Life As Canoe Capsizes In River Nile


A tragic incident unfolded as a canoe transporting thirteen workers from an Indian palm oil farm in Maruzi ranch, Apac district, overturned in the depths of River Nile.

Driven by desperation for livelihood, the workers from the Maruzi palm oil project farm embarked on a journey to Masindi District in search of employment, having faced unpaid wages from the management of the Indian farm.

When they arrived at the Kungu landing site, they found out that the ferry wasn't working. This forced them to get into a small canoe to try and cross the river to the Masindi port landing site.

Sadly, the canoe overturned, causing all thirteen people to drown. Only four of them were able to survive this devastating accident.

The Kungu Police Post was alerted, and a case of drowning was officially recorded. The survivors were promptly transported to a nearby health centre for medical treatment, while ongoing efforts were being made to locate and recover the bodies of the deceased from the water.

Patrick Jimmy Okema, the Police Spokesperson for North Kyoga region, confirmed that the Kungu Police Post had received the notification and registered the case of drowning.

The deceased individuals have been identified as Peter Lotyang (19), Simon Lemukol (18), Simon Lotham (30), and John Lomuria (15). The other victims include Nomha Kamur (21), Simon Ngole (21), Joseph Lonta (19), Simon Lucumwa (35), and Joseph Lokuwam (19).

The survivors, Bosco Muleka and Godfrey Byekwaso, were passengers aboard the ill-fated boat, along with two others, Simon Locire and Peter Lukwampe.

Okema emphasised the unfortunate nature of the incident and extended heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

He also urged workers to approach the labour officers stationed in all District Local Government offices across the country if faced with challenges at their workplaces before resorting to drastic decisions.

Last week (July 5), a similar tragedy struck Lake Victoria as an overloaded boat capsized near Kimi Island, leaving five individuals feared dead.

The boat, carrying eleven people and a heavy load of charcoal and silverfish, was en route from Kisaba landing site to Katosi landing site.

Six individuals were rescued, but five are still missing and presumed to have tragically perished. The Marine Police launched a search and rescue operation to locate the missing individuals.

Survivor accounts revealed that the boat's engine malfunctioned during the journey, leaving them at the mercy of harsh waves and winds. The boat eventually capsized, but the fortunate few who survived thanked God for their safety.

Aisha Nakyazze, a passenger on another boat involved in the rescue, stressed the importance of life jackets and noted that bags of cargo were still floating in the water at the accident scene.

AIP Milton Ecopason, Officer in Charge of Marine Police at Katosi Station, expressed concern over overloaded boats and the lack of safety equipment. Boat owners frequently ignore load capacities, putting lives at risk, while passengers neglect to wear life jackets.

Ecopason called for increased awareness about safety measures and highlighted the challenge of identifying victims due to missing passenger details. Accidents on Lake Victoria have been exacerbated by strong winds, with recent incidents resulting in unidentified bodies being found along the shores.

Tragic Incidents In The Past

In 2019, a passenger boat accident and the 2018 cruise boat capsizing, serve as reminders of the dangers faced on Lake Victoria. The authorities continue their efforts to address these recurring tragedies and ensure the safety of those traveling on the lake.

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