By Varstine Nasuuna
Hoima: Marine officers from the Uganda police and Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) are hunting for bodies of at least thirty people feared to have drowned in Lake Albert, in Hoima district on Sunday.
The victims, who were footballers and their supporters, drowned after the boat they were sailing on heading to football match capsized. Shortly after the tragedy, two bodies were recovered and currently, the police and UPDF marines are still hunting for bodies of missing persons. Baker Ogen, the Fofo landing site LC1 Chairperson said that “The players and the Football fans were heading to Runga landing site in Kibiro parish Kigorobya sub county Hoima district for a football match.” He added that “However, mid their journey, strong winds hit the overloaded boat a few meters from Fofo landing site after setting off, before capsizing the boat.”
Ogen attributes the accident to over loading. However, Ogen attributed the tragedy to overloading, saying that the players and supporter were sailing on a fishing canoe, without even lifejackets. Eyewitnesses reveal that some of the deceased have been identified as only Bob,Fisto,Jango,Ayera, Majid Mayaya, Omirambe, Bondhe and Opakrwoth. Others are Dhebaba,Nyayenga,Winnie,Kothu and Anifa. However, some of the sailors survived and they include; Emmanuel Ageno 20, Jalum Oakani 22, Sara Maurine 24,Rose Chikawun 18,Kenneth Twesige 20, Madithrwoth Thie 18 and Godfrey Alimula 22, Zawadi Rundi 20, Warom Oyirwoth 27, Mubaraka 19, Damas Oyirwoth 18, Oyergiu 16,Oringi and Asumani among others.
Eyewitnesses also revealed that the deceased and survivors are residents of Fofo Landing site in Tonya Parish, Buseruka sub county Hoima district. A UPDF marine officer attached to Mbegu UPDF marine detach identified as Bruno Sunday, who led a team of marine operatives to search and rescue the survivors, says that the hunt for the bodies will continue until all the missing persons are retrieved from the lake. However, this is the second tragedy to occur on Lake Albert, the first one having happened on December 25th, 2016 in which over 30 members of a village football team and their fans drowned in the same Lake Bullisa district. This tragedy however comes a few months after the disastrous MV Templar accident on lake Victoria, in which at least 32 people died after their party boat capsized as they sailed to Mutima beach.