By Vincent Khonje MANA

Seventeen people are missing after a boat they were using sank at Mwelekera on Lusa River in Mchinji when they wanted to cross from one side to the other.

The incident happened on Wednesday when people from Traditional Authorities (TA) Mkanda and Gumba were going to a funeral at Chinyonga village in the area of TA Dambe.

A survivor of the accident Chrissy Govati, from Ngulukira Village TA Gumba speaking on her hospital bed at Kapiri Mission Hospital said the boat which was being rowed across the river started sinking in the middle of the river and all the passengers on board started to drown.

An account from an eyewitness, Mercy Chechibisa from Chisamba village also from TA Gumba, revealed that the boat sank because it could not take the weight of the 22 people and their belongings.

After getting the news about the accident Mchinji District Commissioner Fred Movete and the district civil protection committee (DCPC) rushed to the scene.

According to Movete, 19 of those who were in the boat were adults and three were children.

“Five people have been rescued and the accident has been reported to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) which has invited the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Marine department from Monkey Bay to help search for the missing people,” said Movete.

The survivors were rushed to Kapiri Mission Clinic and Mkanda Health Centre.

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