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16 May, 2023 17:19

23 people missing after hippo attacks boat in Malawi

Only 13 of the 37 passengers who were on board the canoe have been rescued, police say
23 people missing after hippo attacks boat in Malawi

A one-year-old boy has drowned and 23 people remain missing after a hippopotamus overturned a boat on Malawi’s largest river, the Shire, on Monday.

The baby, identified by local media as Abraham Francis, was sailing with his mother in the Nsanje district when the incident occurred. She has yet to be found.

Local authorities reported on Tuesday that only 13 of the 37 people who had been on the canoe when it was hit by the hippo had been pulled from the river.

The search mission to locate the missing individuals is currently underway,” Nsanje police spokesperson Agnes Zalakoma told AFP.

Rescuers retrieved the lifeless body of the infant following the collision, according to Zalakoma, who added that the death toll is expected to rise as police detectives and rescue teams search for the missing people.

Gladys Ganda, a local legislator, told VOA that crossing the river is “very dangerous,” as it is “infested with crocodiles and hippos.”

The canoes that are operating around that area are not motorboats. So, when you are crossing, you actually know that I am doing this at my own risk,” she told the outlet.

One of the survivors, Nelson Caros, 53, whose wife is still missing, told Malawi News Agency that he held on to a plastic bucket while waiting to be rescued by community members.

Boat accidents are common in Malawi. Last month, five people died after a vessel sank in the country’s central district of Mchinji.