Beach death toll hits 20, beach owners face prison for negligence
The death toll from the Boxing day drownings at different beaches in Entebbe has risen to 20 people, according to security sources. This comes after new bodies were recovered on Monday.
The shocking carnage came on Boxing day as revellers poured on beaches to celebrate Christmas. Spending time on Entebbe’s many beaches especially on popular holidays, had become a tradition for many revellers from around Kampala.
The police has blamed owners and managers of beaches for abandoning prescribed safety guidelines when they allowed revellers to swim in the lake beyond 6:30pm, lack life jackets for revellers, lack of lifeguards, failure to record the names and number of visitors on their beaches among many safety guidelines.
Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga told a news conference on Tuesday that the Police Criminal Investigations Directorate is considering pressing charges of criminal negligence against owners of the beaches.
This is the worst incident of drowning by beach goers around Entebbe in many years. So far the bodies have been recovered near Aero, Lido and Speenah Beaches in Entebbe municipality.
Enanga said the police had visited 10 beaches by Monday, where they found serious lapses in security.
Whereas the owners of the beaches have tried to disown the dead as having been their customers, the police says beach managers remain suspects in an ongoing investigation since they cannot provide evidence of names of their revellers.
The police said that all beaches in Entebbe would remain closed pending investigations into the causes and circumstances under which so many young people drowned.
Enanga said that a committee involving the beach owners, police and municipal authorities would determine whether the beaches would be re-opened for New Year’s day celebrations.
Some eye-witness accounts have told The Sunrise that allowing drunken persons to go swimming was probably the biggest cause of death. Others cite the very high turn up of revellers this year that probably overwhelmed organisers for the high number of deaths.
Many however fear that the worst is ahead since more than forty (40) more people remain unaccounted for and are believed to have been among the beach goers.