Tanzania rescue bid as ferry sinks off Zanzibar

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Media captionFootage showed the ferry upside down in the sea and survivors in the water

At least 24 people have died after a Tanzanian ferry carrying about 280 passengers and crew sank near the island of Zanzibar.

Two of the victims were Europeans, a Zanzibar minister said. Officials say 145 people have been rescued, but dozens are still missing.

The boat had left the city of Dar es Salaam, mainland Tanzania, earlier in the day.

The navy said it got into difficulty because of strong winds.

"We have so far received 24 bodies, including two Europeans," Zanzibar's Transport Minister Hamad Masoud Hamad told reporters.

The BBC's Aboubakar Famau in Dar es Salaam said the MV Skagit ferry left the city at 12:00 local time (09:00 GMT) bound for the main island of the semi-autonomous archipelago.

The journey usually takes about two hours.

Thirty-one children are believed to have been on board, our reporter says.

A safety officer at the Zanzibar Port Corporation told Reuters news agency the ferry was now "bottom-up".

Last September, nearly 200 people died when an overcrowded boat with 800 people aboard sank off Zanzibar.

The route between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar is a busy crossing, popular with both Tanzanians and foreign tourists.

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