At least 190 people dead as ferry carrying 800 sinks off Tanzania coast

Ruth Doherty


AP

Dramatic images have emerged of the aftermath of a ferry carrying 800 people sinking off the coast of Tanzania.

At least 190 people died in the tragedy near the tourist island, and 40 people have been left in a 'serious' condition.

It is now believed the ferry could have been carrying up to 800 passengers on its way from Zanzibar to Pemba Island.

The state of Zanzibar has now begun three days of mourning for the victims of the fatal crash, many of whom were children, whose bodies were pictured being carried from the sea by local police.

Ferry carrying 600 people sinks in Tanzania
Ferry carrying 600 people sinks in Tanzania

AP


Zanzibar Police Commissioner Mussa Alli Mussa told the Daily Mail: 'Some 260 passengers have so far been rescued ... we have recovered several bodies but I can't give you the exact death toll at the moment because the situation is very volatile.'

In fact, one government official said they were fearing 'the greatest calamity in the history of Zanzibar', adding, 'This is a disaster'.

Tourists on the popular holiday island helped survivors, while local charities provided blankets and tea.

A survivor said the ferry, MV Spice Islanders was heavily overloaded, and sank in an area with heavy currents in deep sea between mainland Tanzania and Pemba Island.

Ferry carrying 600 people sinks in Tanzania
Ferry carrying 600 people sinks in Tanzania

AP


People who were lucky enough to find something to sit on or hold on to, floated in the water fro at least three hours until the current took them towards Zanzibar's shores.

Local residents flocked to the docks of Stone Town in Zanzibar looking for news of family members.

One man, who was too upset to give his name, was screaming that he had lost 25 members of his family, including his wife, sisters and grandsons, according to the Independent.

Many people were expressing anger at authorities for allowing the ship to set sail when it was so overloaded.

Pemba is a lush, green spot that is commonly known as one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world.