Seven people were killed while another 10 have gone missing after a passenger vessel capsized and sank in the waters of São Tomé and Príncipe on Thursday, April 25.
The ferry Amfitriti had 64 passengers and eight crew on board when it capsized about 90 kilometres off the island of São Tomé.
The Portuguese Navy despatched the patrol vessel Zaire with a team of divers to render assistance after it received an alert from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Lisbon that the ferry was in danger of sinking.
Rescue operations began as soon as Zaire arrived on-scene, by which time Amfitriti had already slipped beneath the waves. However, the divers were not able to enter the wreckage until the following morning when navy officials deemed the situation safe enough to warrant underwater inspection and recovery efforts.
Fifty-five of Amfitriti’s occupants have been rescued since the start of SAR operations on Thursday. Four children and three adults are confirmed dead.
Search operations continue for the 10 people who remain missing.
A São Tomé Coast Guard official said that bad weather had caused the ferry to capsize.
An earlier claim that Amfitriti sank due to overcrowding was disproved after local authorities confirmed the vessel was carrying well below its maximum capacity of 250 passengers at the time of the incident.
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