KARONGI – Up to 32 passengers miraculously survived a boat accident on Lake Kivu, last week, which was blamed on overcapacity and bad weather.
However a 34-year old woman, Glorioza Ingabire, and her one-month old baby, are feared dead as their whereabouts remain unknown.
According to police, the ferry was reportedly overloaded at the time of the accident because it was licensed to carry only 14 passengers.
“We cannot rule out the possibility of a heavy storm that could have caused the accident but, even then, the number of passengers exceeded the capacity of the boat.”
The ill-fated engine boat was headed for Mpembe Island, carrying passengers from a weekly market in Mubuga Sector.
One of the survivors, identified as Mathias Bikorimana, recounted the events that led up to the tragedy.
“The market had been attended by many people from the Island and we could not afford to leave any of them behind. That’s how we ended up overloading the boat and the evening breeze worsened the situation forcing the boat to overturn,” he said.
Another survivor, only identified as Pascal, also said that although the windy weather might have played a part, the boat was overloaded.
Isaac Niragire, the coxswain, is currently under custody at Karongi Police Station as investigations continue.