91 killed as boat sinks off Mozambique coast

Maputo, Mozambique — More than 90 people died when an overcrowded makeshift ferry sank off the north coast of Mozambique, local authorities said Sunday.

The converted fishing boat, carrying about 130 people, ran into trouble as it tried to reach an island off Nampula province, officials said.

“Because the boat was overcrowded and unsuited to carry passengers it ended up sinking … There are 91 people who lost their lives,” said Nampula’s secretary of state Jaime Neto.

Many children were among the victims, he added.  

Rescuers had found five survivors and were searching for more, but sea conditions were making the operation difficult.

Most passengers were trying to escape the mainland because of a panic caused by disinformation about cholera, Neto said.   

The southern African country, one of the world’s poorest, has recorded almost 15,000 cases of the waterborne disease and 32 deaths since October, according to government data.

Nampula is the worst affected region, accounting for a third of all cases.

An investigative team was working to find out the cause of the boat disaster, the official said.

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