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Tanzania Ferry Death Toll May Rise Sharply

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Uploaded on Sep 13, 2011

A senior Zanzibar official says the death toll from last week's ferry disaster could rise sharply. This follows news that more than one thousand passengers were aboard the fated vessel.

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A senior Zanzibar official said on Monday that the death toll from Tanzania's ferry disaster could significantly rise.

The announcement comes after it emerged there were more than 1,000 passengers aboard the vessel when it capsized last week,

Initial reports suggested the MV Spice Islander was carrying 800 people, well above the ferry's 600 passenger capacity.

[Seif Ali Iddi, Zanzibar's Second Vice-president]:
"We were told that the total number of people who were in the boat were a little bit over 1,000 so we are expecting some more bodies between now and maybe tomorrow or day after."

More than 600 passengers were rescued from the ferry.

The leader of Tanzania's main opposition CHADEMA party, Freeman Mbowe, urges the Zanzibar government to take decisive measures to improve marine transport safety.

[Freeman Mbowe, Leader of Tanzania's Main Opposition CHADEMA Party]:
"This national tragedy should serve as a timely wake up call to the government that such an accident, which can be avoided, should not happen in the future."

Iddi says South African divers are expected on Monday to start searching the wreck of the ferry at the bottom of the Indian Ocean for more bodies.

[Seif Ali Iddi, Zanzibar's Second Vice-president]:
"We don't expect any survivors unless maybe they managed to escape maybe to Tanga or to Mombasa, but our hope to get survivors is very small."

Rescue workers say the divers would have to battle deep waters and strong Indian Ocean currents to get to the capsized vessel.

The ferry sank at midnight on Friday off the coast of Nungwi village.

Village fishermen arrived at the accident scene in the early hours of Saturday morning to rescue passengers.

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