Skip to main content

Zimbabwe police retrieve 11 people drowned on Christmas day

By Columbus Mavhunga, for CNN
December 26, 2011 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The boat carried 19 people enjoying Christmas Sunday evening
  • A game ranger drowned in a separate incident on the same lake
  • Lake Chivero if a favorite spot for tourists

Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Police in Zimbabwe said Monday 11 people -- including five children -- drowned when their boat capsized in strong winds on Christmas day evening.

"We have just finished retrieving all the 11 bodies," Andrew Phiri, Zimbabwe police spokesman told CNN. "The boat capsized after it was hit by a wave as these people were enjoying the Christmas Day."

Phiri said eight people including three crew members managed to swim to the shores of the crocodile infested Lake Chivero about 20 km (12.4 miles) southwest of Harare and alerted authorities about the incident.

"The police sub-aqua unit immediately started the rescue mission, but we only finished retrieving the bodies this morning since the boat capsized when it was dark," he added.

Meanwhile, Phiri said, a game ranger at the same lake drowned on Saturday night after a boat he was in capsized.

The identities of the dead and further details about the incident were not disclosed.

"The two incidents are unrelated, only that waves are the common cause of the incidents," Phiri added.

Lake Chivero is now one of the favorite spots for tourists in Zimbabwe as the country's tourism has started recovering over the past two years. Tourism in Zimbabwe took a knock in 2000 when President Robert Mugabe's government embarked on a violent land reform program targeting white commercial farmers.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT