As the country mourns the boat cruise accident victims, more survivors have come out to share their tales. Only 26 people were rescued on Saturday evening. The death toll is 32 while over 60 people are believed to still be missing. Prince David Wasajja, the younger brother of Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II, has said no person would have survived if marine Police had not
insisted on wearing life jackets.
Following Police orders, Wasajja said, a few first-time revelers on the boat cruise respected it and wore the jackets.
This confirms that many people were not wearing life jackets at the time the accident happened. It is also evident in the videos circulating on social media, which are believed to have been recorded by revelers, moments before the tragedy. In one of the videos, many people are seen partying without life jackets. Wasajja also said, many people on the boat did not know how to swim and that this was more tragic when the boat capsized.
“I think it would have been worse if the Police did not insist on wearing life jackets,” he said.
City businessman John Fredrick Kiyimba, commonly known as Freeman, attributed his survival to wearing a life jacket.
He said when the boat capsized, he was lucky and fl oated on water. Kiyimba blamed the tragedy on bad weather, characterised by strong waves and wind. They made the remarks during an interview with one of the local television channels.
Ellison Kaweesi, 25, who says he was an usher in charge of beverages at the boat cruise, said as part of the preparations, on Saturday morning, he and a team of seven woke up and procured wines and whiskeys worth sh8m from the city centre.
“We were seven people; three girls and four boys,” he said.
After packing their merchandise, they set off to Port Bell, where they were to board the MV Amani. MV Amani has been operational since her launch in 2012 and its routes are mainly around Kampala, from Port Bell in Luzira. At Port Bell, the team was blocked by security who told them that the MV Amani had been scheduled for maintenance.
“When we reached there, the officers stopped us and said that they had written off the ferry because it was in bad shape,” he said.
He said they later called Freeman, who asked them to move to KK Beach Ggaba, since they had changed the set off venue.
At KK Beach, they found many people waiting, more than the numbers that he anticipated to be at the party. As they waited, Kaweesi was asked by Freeman to start serving people with drinks to kick off the party. He said he served drinks until 5:00pm, the time which the alternative boat, dubbed MV Templar, came in. Kaweesi said the boat was overpacked, with over 120 people, yet some were blocked from entering. Those who stayed behind, a smaller boat was sent to drop them
to the island
Kaweesi said before they set off, the Marine Police had been deployed heavily and that they were strict on who was on the ferry and where it was heading. He explains that there was a prolonged discussion between the boat management and the Police before they were allowed to continue with their journey.
City businessman John Fredrick Kiyimba commonly known as Freeman blamed the tragedy on bad weather characterized by strong waves and wind. He says he only survived because he had a life jacket. However, Ellison Kaweesi, an usher at the boat, reported to have witnessed the boat helm trying to fi x the engine on several occasions midway the journey.