Africa

Tanzania rescue bid as ferry sinks off Zanzibar

  • 18 July 2012
  • From the section Africa

At least 24 people have died after a Tanzanian ferry carrying about 280 passengers and crew sank near the island of Zanzibar.

Two of the victims were Europeans, a Zanzibar minister said. Officials say 145 people have been rescued, but dozens are still missing.

The boat had left the city of Dar es Salaam, mainland Tanzania, earlier in the day.

The navy said it got into difficulty because of strong winds.

"We have so far received 24 bodies, including two Europeans," Zanzibar's Transport Minister Hamad Masoud Hamad told reporters.

The BBC's Aboubakar Famau in Dar es Salaam said the MV Skagit ferry left the city at 12:00 local time (09:00 GMT) bound for the main island of the semi-autonomous archipelago.

The journey usually takes about two hours.

Thirty-one children are believed to have been on board, our reporter says.

A safety officer at the Zanzibar Port Corporation told Reuters news agency the ferry was now "bottom-up".

Last September, nearly 200 people died when an overcrowded boat with 800 people aboard sank off Zanzibar.

The route between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar is a busy crossing, popular with both Tanzanians and foreign tourists.

Are you in the area? Do you have any information you would like to share with the BBC, if so please leave your comment using the form below.

Required field

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites