Lake Kariba boat accident: 4 still missing, boat owner arrested

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The bodies of four of the five people who drowned after a boat capsized in Lake Kariba on Friday morning are still to be found, but the coxswain, who is also believed to be the boat owner, has been arrested for negligence.

Clever Muwengwa now faces at least four charges including culpable homicide, operating an unregistered boat and carrying passengers who had no life jackets.

Muwengwa is believed to be the owner of the boat and was steering it at the time of the tragedy.

He managed to escape together with two others after they grabbed three of the five life jackets on the boat.

At least five passengers, including a four-year-old boy, are now believed to have drowned, although so far only one body has been recovered. Police sources confirmed the development adding that a team was dispatched yesterday.

A team went again to the area where the accident happened on Friday morning and it remains to be seen when they return what they would have found, said a source.

The driver of the boat was arrested on the same day and will be charged with culpable homicide as he was not licensed, his boat was not registered and he was carrying passengers who had no life jackets.

The accident occurred on Friday when a boat with eight people along with their baggage capsized after being hit by a wave while on its way to Kariba Town from Nyaodza Fishing Camp.

Small boats are the kombis of Lake Kariba, travelling to and from the fishing camps with fishermen, buyers and traders to supply people in the camps and trade with them.

Overloading is the order of the day as people hang precariously on the baggage and many have warned that it was only a matter of time before such an accident occurred.

“A lot of illegal and dangerous things are happening in the lake and authorities should help to bring sanity,” said Kariba resident Mr Samu Mawawo.

There is a lot of overloading of these small boats which should be carrying not more than five people, but you find more people and baggage including fish, increasing chances of accidents.

A fisherman who identified himself only as Mr Manzungu said it was unfortunate that accidents were occurring when a full-moon fishing stoppage was in force, as otherwise there would have been fishing boats nearby that could have raced to the rescue almost immediately.

“There is a seven-day fishing ban each month around the full moon to reduce fishing nights and allow fish to breed.

“We remain concerned that these accidents are occurring during the time when no-one should be on the lake fishing because of the full moon regulations in place,” said Mr Manzungu.

“Let rules be applied and followed by everyone because how does it work that you stay at home and discover that someone has been fishing or transporting fish.”

— Herald


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