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Sierra Leone ferry disaster: 120 buried, many still missing

Last Updated: Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 08:38

Freetown: Sierra Leone has recovered and buried the bodies of 120 people who died in this week`s ferry disaster, a naval official said, but scores more passengers are still unaccounted for.
Naval Lieutenant Mohamed Turay of the surveillance patrol unit yesterday said, "A total of 120 corpses have now been buried, some in mass graves... because of their badly decomposed condition."

He added, "What is happening now is that many of the corpses have drifted from the scene of the accident and it is possible some will float into creeks and other places, but we shall continue to patrol despite the inclement weather."

An official statement by Sierra Leone`s President Ernest Koroma released yesterday did not give the number of deaths but stated that Tuesday`s "gruesome sea accident claimed the lives of a large number of Sierra Leoneans."

Koroma declared on Monday a national day of mourning for the victims of the disaster off the coast of the West African nation.

His statement said that "during the day of mourning, citizens are encouraged to wear black armbands while flags will be flown at half mast".

It also pledged government aid to speed up search operations and medical assistance for survivors.

According to survivors, the wooden boat carried goods and passengers including a large number of children and went down within minutes when it was hit by a storm.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 08:38

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