Lake Victoria boat accident: City mortuary stuck with one body

Some of the bodies of victims of August 2 boat accident on Lake Victoria after being retrieved at Kasenyi landing site, Wakiso District on August 5,2023. PHOTO/IVAN WALUNYOLO

What you need to know:

  • Dr Moses Byaruhanga, a forensic pathologist and Director of Police health services, asked whoever has a missing relative to check with the city mortuary, Mulago by Friday [today] evening.

The city mortuary near Mulago National Referral Hospital is still stuck with one of the bodies of victims of the August 2 boat accident on Lake Victoria.

The unidentified body is of a female adult, one of those who perished in the tragedy.

At least 16 people are believed to have perished in the accident that occurred near Nsazi Island in Mukono District. The vessel, which was travelling from Kalangala District to Kasenyi landing site near Entebbe, Wakiso District ,was reportedly overloaded . It had an estimated 25 passengers, but only nine survived.

A joint rescue team of police and army marine personnel has in the last 30 days managed to retrieve 14 bodies and one body of a female adult is still missing.

But according to Dr Moses Byaruhanga, a forensic pathologist and Director of Police health services, if relatives of the deceased do not show up this week, they will have no option ,but to  bury the body in the KCCA cemetery at Bukasa, Wakiso District .

“We usually keep bodies for five days, but we thought this particular one will be claimed given the nature of the incident, which hasn’t been the case,” he said on August 31.  

He asked whoever has a missing relative to check with the city mortuary, Mulago by Friday[today] evening .   

The missing body is of Sharon Watsemba 21, from Bushiyi Sub-county, Bududa District who was dealing in silver fish commonly known as Mukene at Lwanabatya landing site.

Relatives of Watsemba led by her father Mr Phillip Mutinye spent two weeks at Kasenyi landing site where they camped until August 13 when they gave up on waiting for her body to be retrieved and returned home.

Mr Mutinye  said  this situation has inflicted psychological torture on family members.

“Since we came back here [Bududa] many things have happened. We have failed to psychologically cope up with the situation and I always experience shocking visions. Every day we keep waiting that maybe a phone call will come from Kampala inviting us to pick up my daughter’s remains, in vain,” he said. 

 “The only consolation we can get is to lay her to rest at our ancestral land here, but every day the hope continues to fade,” he added.

Mr Ubaldo Bamunoba, the commander of the Marine Police, told Monitor on Thursday evening that the hunt is still on to recover Watsemba’s remains.

“We just scaled down the operations, but we’re still pursuing the matter, our unit in charge of the area where the incident occurred is still searching for what is believed to be the remaining body ,” he said .

He added that all their communication channels are still open for the public to notify them in case of any information that can lead them to this missing body.  

Mr Bamunoba asked the fishermen, passengers and boat operators to comply with all the existing safety guidelines.

“We’re also focusing on enforcing compliance with the guidelines and all laws in place to deter similar tragedies in future,” he said.