There was chaos and panic for over 450 passengers aboard the Malawi’s long serving passenger vessel the MV Ilala, when it nearly sank on Saturday night.
The vessel, which set off on Saturday afternoon from Likoma to Nkhata Bay, is reported to have started swaying uncontrollably due to strong Mwera winds currently prevailing across Lake Malawi.
There was further panic as two boxes containing life jackets fell into the lake, rendering the crew hopeless in case the ship sank, according to a source.
One passenger, Ernest Chilupe, said some of the passengers on board the ship cried, vomitted and prayed seeking God’s intervention until the ship reached Nkhata Bay later the same night.
Assistant surveyor of marine vessels for Nkhata Bay and Likoma districts, Chikumbutso Ziyaya, said all passengers arrived safely.
Said Ziyaya: “No one on board was hurt during the trauma.”
This comes barely a week after a privately-owned passenger boat MV Malungo and MV Edmund Rhodes belonging to the Nkhata Bay district council, got stuck on the lake due to technical hitches. n