• 6 believed to be dead after drowning accident in Lake Kariba, Zambia.
    • The young adults were attending a youth camp meeting in the area.
    • 5 bodies have been found, but 1 is still missing.

05 January 2022 | Six young men are believed to have drowned in Lake Kariba, Zambia, on Jan. 1, 2022, while attending a Youth Alive camp meeting there.

Innocent Siachitoba, a spokesperson for the Lusaka Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, said the deceased had jumped onto a fishing rig they found parked by the shores of the lake. When the fishing rig started to move into the lake, the young men jumped off and then drowned, reported the news site Mwebantu.

The victims, aged between 18 and 23, have been identified as Goodson Hamaila, Niza Muchiliba, Zebron Shitambo, Ronald Libuka, Rodwell Chileshe and Allan Mwaanga, all from Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, according to the Lusaka Sun.

As of this date, five bodies have been recovered, but it is unclear whether the body of Mwaanga has been found.

The deceased were in the area for a youth conference that started on Dec. 26, 2021, and ended on Jan. 1, 2022. Five mission districts were participating in the camp meeting held at the Siavonga Secondary School, reported the Zambian Telegraph.

A commenter on a Facebook post by Munati Television had more details about the story, although they have not been reported on other news sites. Mavis Namutenda, who self-identifies as currently working for the Ministry of Education in Zambia and having worked for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, said that originally eight people had boarded the fishing rig.

Namutenda said that the group had left the camp meeting and gone to the waterside. There they found a fisherman working on his boat. The group of eight boarded the boat, and refused to leave when the fisherman requested that they do so.

The fisherman then headed into the water with the group. After a while, they jumped out of the boat, thinking they could swim the 15 meters (about 49 feet) back to shore. However, only two made it back, with one having to be assisted to shore.

Lake Kariba is a vast body of water, being 282 kilometres (175 miles) long and up to 40 kilometres (25 miles) in width. It covers an area of 5,580 square kilometres (2,150 square miles) and holds more than 180 billion tons of water. It is 100 meters (328 ft.) deep in places. However, it is more correctly a dam, as the water is held back by a huge wall that spans the Kariba Gorge, according to the site Zambia Tourism. 

It is the largest man-made reservoir in the world. It was completed in 1959 when the Zambezi River was dammed in a joint electricity-generation project between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It is an important resource in the region, as it generates 1300 megawatts of power. It is also a popular tourist destination.

(Photo: Boats are seen docked by the shores of Lake Kariba in this undated photograph. Six young men are believed dead after jumping off a fishing boat in Lake Kariba and drowning on Jan. 1, 2022. Photo via Zambiatourism.com.)

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