Uganda: Police to question all boat survivors

All the survivors of the Saturday boat accident in which 32 people perished will be questioned, police announced yesterday.

They for now are not being treated as suspects, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said, but the information that they provide will help investigators string the facts prior, during and after the tragedy.

MV Templar packed with revellers set off from KK Beach at Ggaba Landing Site, but the coxswain diverted the vessel for emergency docking at Mutima Beach after it malfunctioned mid the trip.

However, a few metres to docking, the boat capsized.
The twenty-six survivors either swam to shore, were promptly rescued using fishing boats or held onto guardrails until volunteers saved them.

The boat owners, who were also on-board, perished and were buried in Kira Municipality yesterday.
Mr Owoyesigyire said among those to record statement is Prince David Wasajja whose questioning was delayed, according to police, to allow him recover from the shock of near-death and grief of losing close friends.

“Like many survivors, he (Prince Wasajja) could still be in shock. Survivors are trying to recover from an incident that almost claimed their lives. Many lost friends and relatives.’

We cannot rush to pick statements from them,” he said. Survivors and witnesses have offered differing accounts of the November 24 tragedy and the history and mechanical condition of the vessel in the weeks to the trip.

The State Minister of Works and Transport, Mr Aggrey Bagiire and Ms Zurah Ganyana, a spokesperson of the Mutima accident rescue and recovery operation, said marine police tried but failed to block the revellers from leaving Ggaba after some of them turned rowdy.

Majority were drunk and wild, police said, an account we cannot independently verify.
There were also reports that the vessel was not worthy to ply, having broken down and been grounded for weeks prior to the catastrophic sail.

Meanwhile, police announced yesterday that 30 out of 35 vehicles that had remained at Ggaba beach have already been taken by owners or relatives of the deceased after presenting satisfactory evidence.
The rest will be towed and kept at Ggaba Police Station.

By Daily Monitor

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