WATCH: 'My family had planned my funeral,' says survivor of Tanzanian ferry disaster

2018-10-23 10:00
People stand on the banks of Lake Victoria as rescue workers search for victims after the ferry MV Nyerere capsized. (File: AFP)

People stand on the banks of Lake Victoria as rescue workers search for victims after the ferry MV Nyerere capsized. (File: AFP)

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A man who survived the Tanzanian ferry disaster that killed over 200 people last month has revealed how his family had already arranged for his burial when news broke that he had been rescued.  

According to Associated Press, Engineer Augustine Cherehani was found inside the capsized ferry two days after the disaster on Lake Victoria.

The badly overloaded ferry capsized in the final stretch before shore on September 20, as people returning from a busy market day shifted and prepared to disembark.

Cherehani survived by locking himself in a semi-watertight room for three days until he was rescued.

Cherehani told BBC: "My family had prepared for my burial."

"What I recall was finding myself on the floor like someone who was pushed to the ground. The astonishing thing was when I looked at the engines, instead of them being below me, they were above me."

Click here to watch Cherehani speak about how he escaped death.

At that time, the water had already started flooding into the ferry.

"I remember saying to myself 'this is a strange day'," said Cherehani.

He was luckily found by divers before he ran out of air.

Accidents were often reported on the large freshwater lake surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Some of the deadliest have occurred in Tanzania, where aging passenger ferries often carried hundreds of passengers and well beyond capacity.

In 1996, more than 800 people died when passenger and cargo ferry MV Bukoba sank on Lake Victoria.

Nearly 200 people died in 2011 when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania's Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar, Associated Press reported.

Read more on:    tanzania  |  east africa

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