South African National Defence Force divers and medical teams arrived in Zanzibar this morning to assist in the search and rescue operations following the weekend’s ferry accident that claimed dozens of lives.
Nearly 200 people were confirmed to have drowned when an overcrowded ferry sank Saturday near Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania. Reports from Zanzibar suggest the ferry, the MV Spice Islander, was even more overloaded than previously thought, with roughly 800 people on board.
The SANDF team includes 11 specialist divers, four medical personnel and a range of highly specialised equipment, like chambers and oxygen gases, to be used during the operation.
The SANDF said after receiving a briefing on the full logistical operations, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, pledged that the force will do everything to support the neighbouring country.
“The President, who is the Commander-in-Chief, has ordered that the SANDF must do everything possible to help the Tanzanian Defence Force to recover all the bodies and to provide any other assistance required. We are ready to do so and the SANDF is very capable and has all necessary skills and equipments, we are always ready,” said Sisulu.
The SAS Mendi, a Frigate from the SANDF, was also on standby to assist with salvage and recovery operations. – Report from BuaNews