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Death toll from the Zanzibar ferry accident rises to 163

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At least 163 people died when a ferry capsized off the popular tourist archipelago of Zanzibar, but over 100 people are still missing, a minister said Saturday.“We have recovered 163 people who have died and we have rescued 325 survivors,” said Mohammed Aboud, Zanzibar’s state minister for emergencies, dramatically updating an earlier death toll of 53.Officials said that around 600 people were believed to have been on the stricken ferry, including families returning home after the holidays to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The exact number of passengers on this type of ferry is often difficult to establish as no reliable passenger lists are kept.“We have asked for emergency assistance from Dar es Salaam, including divers, to help in the rescue efforts,” Aboud told AFP.The MV Spice Islander, which was travelling between Zanzibar’s main island Unguja and Pemba, two of the three islands that make up Zanzibar, had left Unguja around 9pm (1800 GMT) and capsized four hours later.

It was reportedly carrying a heavy cargo of rice and other goods... http://eastafricaradiousa.com/blog/?p=8741

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