Wednesday June 07, 2023

Malawi boat collision with hippo results in baby's death, 23 missing

The authorities in Nsanje reported that the event took place when a canoe with 37 individuals, was crossing the Shire River

By Web Desk
May 17, 2023
Rescue teams are searching the Shire River.—Twitter@MalcolmSchuyl
Rescue teams are searching the Shire River.—Twitter@MalcolmSchuyl

Heartbreaking news emerges from the Shire River in Malawi, where authorities confirm that a boat carrying passengers on its journey was tragically struck by a hippopotamus, resulting in the unfortunate death of an infant. 

Moreover, 23 individuals remain missing, leaving families and communities in anguish as they await any news of their loved ones.

The incident occurred on Monday morning as the canoe, with 37 people on board, sailed through the waters of the southern district of Nsanje. Agnes Zalakoma, the Nsanje police spokesperson, reports that local residents demonstrated immense bravery by rescuing 13 individuals from the water. However, the fate of 23 people remains a haunting uncertainty as Tuesday unfolds.

Adding to the sorrow, rescuers were only able to retrieve the lifeless body of a one-year-old child who tragically drowned in the incident. Agnes Zalakoma emphasizes that a search mission is currently in progress, mobilizing all available resources to locate the missing individuals and bring them to safety.

The Shire River, Malawi's largest river, has witnessed its share of boat accidents. In a country where regular water transport is scarce, individuals often find themselves crossing lakes and rivers in fragile boats, lacking proper regulations to ensure their safety. This unfortunate reality exposes them to greater risks and heightens the need for improved safety measures.

Sadly, this recent tragedy follows a similar occurrence in Mchinji, Malawi's central district, where an overcrowded boat capsized, claiming the lives of at least five people. These consecutive incidents underscore the urgent necessity for stricter safety protocols and comprehensive regulations to protect lives and prevent future calamities.

In this time of profound grief, our thoughts and condolences go out to the affected families who have lost their precious children and are anxiously awaiting news of their missing loved ones. We stand together in solidarity with the impacted communities, hoping for a swift resolution to the ongoing search mission and the safe return of the missing individuals. May strength and support surround those affected by this heartrending tragedy.