Police take measures to prevent maritime accidents

Police and local authorities have issued strict guidelines for boat users following a weekend accident in which 12 people died after a boat they were travelling in capsized on Nyabarongo River, Nyarugenge District.

Police and local authorities have issued strict guidelines for boat users following a weekend accident in which 12 people died after a boat they were travelling in capsized on Nyabarongo River, Nyarugenge District.

The wooden boat carrying about 25 people from Kamonyi District, Southern Province sank on Saturday morning, Police said.

The ill-fated boat was sailing from Rugarika Sector, Kamonyi District, a small landing site in Masaka Cell to a market in Mageragere Sector, Nyarugenge                                 District.

Chief Superintendent of Police Celestin Twahirwa, Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson said 11 people were rescued, one of them in critical condition. Those rescued were rushed to Kigese Health Centre in Rugarika Sector, Kamonyi District where they got first aid treatment before being discharged.

Police said the exact number of people on the boat was not known although those rescued reported that an estimated 25 people  were on board.

The boat started to sink midway the journey because it was old and weak, according to accounts of the rescued people.

When it was near the river bank, the boat operator tried to control it but in vain.

 As all passengers struggled to disembark to save their lives, the boat jolted and sank into the river. The search for more bodies continued on Sunday by police and divers in the areas of Bugesera District.

There is now strict boat inspection measures to ensure that all boats are in good condition, have lifejackets and an engine prior to allowing them sail, Twahirwa said.

He said old boats or those not meeting the requirements will not be allowed to carry passengers.

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