More than 200 people are feared to have drowned after an overloaded passenger ferry capsized on Lake Victoria in Tanzania.
Ukerewe District Commissioner Colonel Lucas Magembe told Reuters that the rescue mission to find survivors from the disaster had been halted until dawn on Friday with 42 people confirmed dead.
There were "more than a hundred passengers" on board the vessel when it sank Thursday afternoon near Ukara Island in the southeast of the vast lake, which also extends into Uganda and Kenya, a local official said.
He added that rescue operations had been suspended and would resume on Friday morning.
In 1996, a ferry tragedy in the same area of Lake Victoria killed at least 500 people.
Local media has reported the ferry was packed with up to 400 people despite a maximum capacity of around 100.
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However, it was hard to establish just how many passengers there were as the person dispensing tickets drowned with the machine recording the data. The ferry capsized a few metres before docking, Mwami said.
The Tanzanian government has confirmed the ferry capsized but exact figures for those on board are yet to be confirmed.
'We pray to God to give us hope in such an accident, ' Regional Commissioner Adam Malima told reporters.
Some of the deadliest accidents in Lake Victoria have occurred in Tanzania, where passenger boats are often said to be old and in poor condition.
In 2011, an overcrowded ferry carrying at least 800 sank off the coast of the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, killing 187 people.