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Eleven Adventists Among the Dead as Ferry Capsizes in Tanzania


Tragedy on Lake Victoria claimed the lives of at least 224 people.

The ferry MV Nyerere capsized on Lake Victoria, Tanzania, on September 20, 2018. According to local sources, the tragedy has so far claimed 224 lives. Speaking about the event, Godwin Lekundayo, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Northern Tanzania region, said that among those who died were 11 Adventist church members from the Ukwere district.

The ferry was carrying passengers and luggage from Bugolora to Ukara Island. It capsized near Bwisia, Ukara, just a few hundred meters before reaching its destination. According to some sources, the ferry was loaded with people and materials beyond its capacity. A September 23 report on CNN said that officials acknowledged the ferry had a capacity of about 100, but that possibly as many as 400 people were on board. The exact number may never be known.

Efforts are being made to raise the capsized ferry to recover any victims who may have been trapped underneath the vessel.

Church Supports Rescue Efforts

The Adventist Church in Tanzania participated fully, along with government officials and others, on the team handling the rescue and recovery efforts after the Lake Victoria tragedy. A special Master Guide group of Seventh-day Adventists used their own fishing boat to recover drowning victims, bringing them ashore for identification by relatives. 

In recognition of the Master Guides’ participation in the recovery efforts, government officials provided the Adventist group with an additional boat so they could continue to assist. Master Guides also visited and helped the bereaved relatives at the site. Some of those in need included children who have lost their parents and other close relatives in the incident.

The church in North Tanzania is soliciting prayers for the bereaved families and the government of Tanzania as they struggle to cope with this tragedy.

  • Adventist Master Guides used their own boat to help recover bodies of victims who drowned after a ferry boat capsized on Lake Victoria, Tanzania, on September 20, 2018. Eleven of the 224 people who died were members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [Photo: Northern Tanzania Union Mission]

  • A group of Adventist Master Guides take part in the efforts of recovering the bodies of some of the estimated 224 people who drowned on Lake Victoria, Tanzania, on September 20, 2018. The Master Guides also provided support to the relatives of the deceased. [Photo: Northern Tanzania Union Mission]

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