At least 200 people are dead and many more still missing after a ferry capsized off Zanzibar, the popular tourist archipelago in Tanzania.
Voice of America reports that roughly 800 people were onboard the MV Spice Islander, which was traveling between Zanzibar's main islands of Unguja and Pemba when it capsized at around 1 a.m. Saturday local time. The ferry was reportedly transporting people back from holidays to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
Bodies are reportedly washing up on shore. At least 200 people have died in the Zanzibar disaster, the Associated Press reports, quoting an official, but some 260 people including 60 children are reported to have been rescued, according to the BBC. So far no foreign tourists have been reported dead.
Zanzibar authorities are overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster and have asked for foreign help, including from South Africa and Kenya, the BBC says.
Survivors are being transported to the main harbor in historic Stone Town, where an emergency center has been set up, Agence France-Presse says.
The MV Spice Islander was reportedly carrying a heavy cargo of rice and other goods, AFP reports.
Tourism is an important industry in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago famous for its beaches and historical buildings in Stone Town, which is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, AFP says.