Eight people are feared dead after a canoe boat in which they were travelling capsized on Lake Albert on Sunday.
The incident happened about 400 metres away from Susa landing site in Kikuube district.
The boat was reportedly carrying eighteen passengers was heading to Sebigoro landing site in Kyangwali Sub County, Kikuube District.
The Albertine regional police spokesperson Julius Hakiza, said efforts to retrieve the bodies by Police and UPDF marine are still ongoing. He said they have so far only retrieved one body of a 10-months-old baby who died on the back of its mother.
“A boat with a capacity of eight passengers carrying over 18 passengers capsized and it is reported that eight drowned in water, we are trying to retrieve those bodies,” Mr Hakiza said.
Nine people survived the accident and according to Mr Hakiza, these are from Mukambo in Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The survivors as identified by police are Fuambe Apolu, Aruba Jaliwinyi, 51, Phina Okethwengu, Biwanga Munguriek, 24, Nusura Anolo, Irine Ayenyo, 20, Solaini Atim Jedi, Pasia Ocikwengi, and Samuel Tito.
They are said to have been living at Susa landing site which is among the over 60 areas that government declared illegal and all occupants have been ordered to vacate.
“They were evacuating from the landing site following the submergence of water levels as the exercise was being enforced by security operatives,” Hakiza said.
The incident is being investigated though preliminary reports show that the most probable cause of the accident was over loading, given the capacity of the boat is 8. The canoe in this case was carrying 18 people.
The Buhuka parish chairman Mr Reginal Okumu said there are several people moving on the lake from landing sites which government has declared ungazetted. He said majority of the travellers are moving without life jackets which puts their lives at risk.
“Thousands of people are arriving at Nsonga landing site in search of where they can settle. People are overcrowded here. There is no social distancing,” Mr Okumu said on Sunday.
He claimed that another boat capsized on Saturday when it was loaded with fishermen who were evacuating from Kyenyanja landing site to Kyakapere landing site in Kyangwali Sub County. He said the bodies of Fabiola, 55, Hezrom, 63 and Okumu Fundi, 45 have been retrieved from the lake.
Early this year, six people perished in a boat accident on Lake Albert when the boat they were travelling in capsized as they moved from Kitebere landing site to the DRC.
In May, 2019, 16 people died at Fofo landing site on Lake Albert in Hoima district when a boat in which they were travelling capsized a few metres after setting off from the shoreline. The victims included football players of Fofo landing site team and their fans who were travelling to Runga landing site for a friendly match.
In December 2016, over forty five people drowned in Lake Albert on Christmas day as they traveled to participate in a friendly football match.
Similar accidents have also happened on the lake in years 2014 and 2010.