Four people drowned while 13 others were rescued after the canoe they were sailing in capsized in Ndindi River in Nsanje District on Saturday.
Nsanje Police Station deputy spokesperson Declare Mbukwa identified the deceased as Faiti Stewart, 19, Tatu Stewart, 14, both from Mankhwangwe Village, Moses Lameck, 25, from Chibanzi Village and Brown Jangita, 17, from Kalumbi Village all in Traditional Authority (T/A) Ndamera in the district.
He said: “We received a report from Ndindi Fishing Ground chairperson Yosefe Mose that 17 passengers boarded a canoe at around 8am from Khome heading to Thaundi Village. On their way, a crocodile hit their canoe.
“Following the impact, the canoe capsized, but 12 passengers were rescued after some minutes and the remaining four were found dead later.”
Chief Ndamera described the incident as a tragedy and asked canoe operators to avoid overloading.
Nsanje South legislator Ramzan Mahomedi sent condolence messages to the bereaved families.
He also asked the Department of Parks and Wildlife to reduce the number of marine animals such as crocodiles and hippopotamus which jeorpadise people’s lives in the area.
Said Mahomedi: “We have many crocodiles and hippos in our rivers which need to be reduced by either killing them or translocating them to others areas.
“Whether we like it or not, Ndindi River is a source of finance to fishers.”
This is not the first time people have drowned while attempting to cross rivers in the district.
Last year, 12 people from Phokera in T/A Mbenje drowned in Shire River. Again last year, four people from Mchacha in T/A Mbenje drowned in Shire River while this year in May, six people from Chingwe in T/A Malemia drown in the same river.