Death toll from boat sinking in Madagascar rises to 85

The death toll from the sinking of a cargo boat in northeastern Madagascar rose to 85, after the bodies of 21 others were found, the maritime authorities and the gendarmerie announced Thursday.
“The death toll has risen to 85 after 21 bodies were recovered yesterday,” General Zavisambatra Ravoavi told AFP.
The maritime authorities stated that the number of passengers on this small boat, which is 12 meters in length, was greater than what was previously reported, amounting to 138 people, of whom only fifty were rescued.
The ship, which is not allowed to carry passengers, left the small town of Antsirakia towards Suanirana-Ivongo, about 100 kilometers to the south. It drifted close to its destination.
Most of the passengers are seasonal workers who have just finished picking cloves and are on their way home for the holiday season.
“Emergency services have found personal items, identity cards and money,” said Alban Minavulo, mayor of Suanyirana Ifongo.
“Most of the passengers were seasonal workers from the countryside,” he told AFP, explaining that “these Malagasy people went to harvest carnations (…) and wanted to join their families for the end-of-year celebrations.”

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