Monday, April 29, 2013

Chief Puta's sons, headman's son drown on Mweru
By Godfrey Chikumbi in Kawambwa
Thu 25 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

SENIOR Chief Puta's two sons and a village headman's son have been confirmed dead while several others are feared dead on Lake Mweru after their speedboat sank under their weight during a tourism showcasing exercise.

Luapula Province police commissioner Philemon Mutale and Chienge's headman Natende Walushiba (Katele Kalumba) confirmed the incident in separate interviews yesterday.

Mutale said the accident happened at about 15:30 hours on Tuesday at Isenga Beach in Natende Walushiba's area.

Mutale named the deceased children as Mathews Mudenda, 8, chief Puta's biological son, Chongo Kasonde, 1, his step son, and James Lupupa, headman Chilindi's son.

"The chief had a programme to showcase the beauty of his chiefdom which was supposed to be attended by tourism and arts minister Sylvia Masebo. The chief, who was supposed to be in the minister's company went on the boat but it appears the minister did not attend," Mutale said.

He explained that the accident happened just after chief Puta had safely returned to shore and went to his palace.

"It was out of excitement that the children who remained jumped into the boat as the operator identified as a Mr Muntanga of the Fisheries Department in the area tried to secure the vessel, but water started flowing into the boat after he started the engine because of the weight of the children. Out of panic, the children started jumping out and we lost three" Mutale explained.

Mutale said that preliminary investigations into the accident indicated that the boat was overloaded causing it to sink.

And according to Dr Kalumba, chief Puta had organised a tourism showcasing event which included boat racing in preparation Masebo's a pending visit.

"It appears that the boat which could not sustain the weight of children sank. The bodies of the children have been retrieved but many more are feared dead," Dr Kalumba said.

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