A boat in Malawi has capsized after being attacked by a hippo claiming the life of a toddler and left 23 individuals missing, sending shockwaves through the local community and beyond.
A peaceful outing on a scenic river turned into a devastating tragedy when a boat carrying several passengers capsized after an encounter with a hippopotamus.
The ill-fated incident occurred yesterday across the Shire River in Malawi’s Nsanje district.
According to Agnes Zalakoma, a police spokesperson, the tragic incident occurred in the early hours of Monday. Out of the 37 passengers aboard the boat, 23 individuals are currently missing and are feared to have perished in the water.
It is important to note that the waters where the incident took place are known to be inhabited by crocodiles and hippos.
“Well-wishers managed to rescue 13 people while 23 others went missing and the dead body of the toddler has been found,” Zalakoma said in a statement Monday, adding that the deceased child was only one-year-old.
Tragically, a young toddler lost their life in the incident, succumbing to the chaotic circumstances. As of now, rescue teams are actively searching for the 23 individuals who remain missing, tirelessly combing the river’s waters and its surrounding areas.
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The search and rescue operation involves a joint effort from local authorities, fishermen, and volunteers, who are utilizing boats, divers, and advanced sonar technology to locate and retrieve the missing individuals.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Zalakoma emphasized the perilous nature of crossing the river, stating that it poses significant risks, and accidents of this nature are frequent occurrences.
“It is too dangerous because it (the river) is too shallow and in this river there are crocodiles that most of the time attack people and also hippopotamus that cause incidents like the one we’re dealing with,” Zalakoma said.
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Zalakoma explained, “The crossing of this river is highly dangerous due to its shallow depth. The presence of crocodiles, known for their frequent attacks on people, and the potential encounters with hippos, which often lead to incidents like the one we are currently facing, further contribute to the high level of danger.”
The tragic incident has sparked a wave of mourning and support from both local communities and the international community.