Tanzania: Passenger Ferry Capsizes in Zanzibar

At least 198 people died and 590 people rescued after a ferry capsized in Zanzibar. The ferry, MV Spice, was carrying more than 700 passengers from Zanzibar to Pemba island.

Twitter users including those on the ground in Zanzibar have been updating information about the disaster using the hashtag #ZanzibarBoatAccident.

Soud Hyder from Al Jazeera Kiswahili and Seth Kibet, a crisis mapper and software developer, have set up Ushahidi-based platform for tracking real-time information about the accident. Citizens can submit reports by sending a tweet with the hashtag/s #ZanzibarBoatAccident or #Zanzibar or #Pemba or by filling a form. Ushahidi is an open source project which allows users to crowdsource information.

Amidst confusion about the number of the victims, @ZittoKabwe in Zanzibar updated his follower about the number of casualties:

@zittokabwe: I have just spoken with Zanzibar 1st VP. Rescued stand at 590 and deaths 198 #ZanzibarBoatAccident

: #ZanzibarBoatAccident amazing! 546 people rescued now. Official – Presindet's Office, just spoke to the PS

Photo of MV Spice by Flickr user sheyneg released under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Witnessing the events on the ground @Arabinizer wrote:

@arabinizer: 16 hours later is when the POLice Helicopter arrived? How slow can it get? #ZanzibarBoatAccident #zanzibar

@arabinizer: Seeing choppers still hovering above,HOPing for more survivors ,#zanzibar #ZanzibarBoatAccident

@arabinizer: @mollymhunter we were there witnessing the Events,The Boat capsized about 10 nautical miles from NUNGwi Town #ZanzibarBoatAccident #zanzibar

@arabinizer: Thousands are swarming in, Tanzania is in a state of Mourning, Flags Half mast, (maisara,znz) #zanzibar #ZanzibarBoatAccident

@arabinizer: Rushing to the outdated Zanzibar main hospital to Tally up the lost souls #tanzania #ZanzibarBoatAccident

: Identifying DEad Bodies,Very Graphic scenes,Can't Hold myself #Zanzibar #ZanzibarBoatAccident

As Television stations in mainland Tanzania took a while to offer updates, some Tweeter users expressed their disappointment:

@mnyune: Much respect for the coverage #zbc so ashamed #TBC #channel 10 #ITV on #ZanzibarBoatAccident

@O_the1: TBC IS a disgrace, INstead of morning with the Rest of Tanzanians they are playing Silly music. #ZanzibarBoatAccident #zanzibar #Tanzania

Friends, relatives and concerned citizens in Zanzibar standing in shock. Photo courtesy of @Tanganyikan.

While @shurufu tweeted live coverage from Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation:

@shurufu: On ZBC, they are counting the dead. Unconfirmed but the no. appears to be 118 dead and counting #Zanzibarboataccident

@shurufu: On ZBC (TVZ), a man has just identified a dead relative. Harrowing #Zanzibarboataccident

Earlier when the tragedy was unfolding, @jenny_hauser curatedtweets and photos related to the accident.

From early Saturday morning, some tweeps were mourning the dead and others praising the rescuers:

: Its so sad..what happened in zanzibar. My prayers with them wallahi! #zanzibarboataccident

@zeanonymouspoet: #ZanzibarBoatAccident its death and funeral in every hall..stone town is crying now leaders are lying…

: Fishermen in Nungwi village played heroic role in rescuing fellow Tanzanians. Sacks of wheatflower onboard we used #ZanzibarBoatAccident

In 1996, MV Bukoba, a Lake Victoria ferry that carried passengers and cargo between the Tanzanian ports of Bukoba and Mwanza, sank. Up to 1000 passengers drowned.


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