Five die, 11 missing in Malawi boat accident
Five people died and 11 others were still missing after an overloaded boat carrying about 70 people capsized on Lake Malawi on Sunday, police said Monday.
The Malawi Police Service (MPS) and the Malawi Defense Force (MDF) Monday evening intensified the search for the 11 people who were still missing.
The boat carrying worshippers who were returning from Easter celebrations Sunday was faced with harsh weather just a few minutes after it set sail. It capsized near a place called Mlowe in Rumphi, in the northern region of the country.
The district's police officer in-charge, Denis Banda, said a total of 54 people survived, some by swimming, while others were rescued by the local lakeshore communities who rushed to the scene with their boats.
Eight of the rescued people, who were in critical conditions, were still in hospital as of Monday evening.
The boat was believed to have been overloaded, according to police.
One of the survivors, Graciam Mtonya Kondowe, told local radio Zodiak that he had survived by clinging to a bag of maize flour that was floating.
He described the tragedy as the worst scenario he had ever encountered in his life, saying on board were also women and children.
In August 2016, over 15 worshipers, the majority of them children, perished in a road accident in Mzimba District in the same northern region when the minibus they were traveling in was involved in a pile-up that involved three vehicles.