20 missing, 5 dead after strong waves struck ferry ship

By Accidents
Ferry vessel Kilimanjaro II struck with large waves on Sunday, 5th of January and left at least 20 passengers missing. The accident occurred in the area of Nungwi, Zanzibar, reported maritime officials.

Khalfan Msangi, North Unguja Regional Police Commander reported on Monday that professionals from the Search&Rescue team found 3 passengers alive and transported them to the nearby hospital. They also recovered 5 bodies that include 3 men and 2 women in age between 15 and 17 years.

"Search [missions] were called-off late Sunday because of rough sea and darkness, but we have now resumed investigations," Msangi said. "Rescue divers from police, army, coastguard, and private companies are taking part in the operation."

Departured from Pemba Island ferry vessel Kilimanjaro II, was en route to Unguja Island in Zanzibar. Kilimanjaro II was on half of the way while strong waves struck the ship, according to maritime officials report. There were 456 passengers aboard the ferry at the time of the accident (including 60 children and 456 adults). Abdi Omar Maalim, Director of the Zanzibar Maritime Authority (ZMA) informed that strong waves sent 20 people overboard and part of the cargo.

The captain of the Kilimanjaro II ferry vessel has been detained for questioning, said Director Maalim. He also blamed the crew members of the ferry for negligence, which caused the accident.

Some of the survivors complained of lack of cooperation between crew members after the accident on Kilimanjaro II occurred, said North Zanzibar district commissioner, Mr. Riziki Simai.

Permanent secretary in the office of the 2nd Vice President, Khalid Mohammed, issued a statement appealing to grieved families to becalm and asking them for patience as the maritime officials continue with the search and rescue operation.

Over 200 other people died in the same area when the vessel they were sailing on, MV Spice Islander capsized in 2011, while she was en route to Pemba port. On the following year another 140 people lost their lives, after another ferry ship en route to Zanzibar sank in the same area.