Witnesses, officials: 1,200 on sunk Tanzania boat

AP News
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Posted: Sep 12, 2011 10:24 AM
Witnesses, officials: 1,200 on sunk Tanzania boat

Official and survivor counts indicate that nearly 1,200 people may have been aboard a crowded ferry that sank off Tanzania's coast.

Survivor Issa Hemeid said Monday some 150 people were likely trapped inside the boat's first- and second-class section when it sank early Saturday, echoing two other survivors. The death toll was 240 on Monday. On Sunday, an official estimated more than 800 people survived.

Together, that could mean nearly 1,200 people were aboard, well above survivors' estimates of the boat's capacity of 600.

Officials gathered Monday on the island of Zanzibar to pray for the survivors and the dead.

Survivors said the ferry left Tanzania's commercial capital of Dar es Salaam loaded with building materials, mattresses and passengers. Officials said they are seeking the boat's captain and owner.