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500 DROWN AS SHIP SINKS IN LAKE VICTORIA

A ferry struck a rock and sank in Lake Victoria Tuesday, and 500 people drowned, state radio said.

Passing ships pulled 40 survivors from the water 30 miles northwest of the port of Mwanza and recovered 21 bodies, Radio Tanzania said.No more survivors among the 600 people aboard the MV Bukova were expected to be found, the radio said.

The ship was traveling southeast from Bukoba to Mwanza, 110 miles away. Mwanza is Tanzania's most important port on the shore of Lake Victoria, handling the cotton, tea and coffee grown in the fertile western part of the country.

The MV Bukoba is owned and operated by the state Tanzania Railways Corp., which sent the MV Victoria, the largest steamer on the huge lake, and other vessels to the rescue, Radio Tanzania said.

Since the collapse in 1977 of the East African Community and the disintegration of the East African Railways and Harbors Corp., Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have operated separate ferry services in Lake Victoria with only haphazard rescue cooperation.

Lake Victoria is world's second-largest freshwater lake after Lake Superior.