Malawi Defence Force (MDF) divers from Chilumba Barracks in Karonga yesterday joined rescue efforts for people feared dead after a boat capsized on Lake Malawi at Zunga in Rumphi District.
Community members had launched a search for the victims before the police came in.
MDF was roped in after police efforts could not bear fruits due to lack of a marine department at Rumphi Police Station.
Both Rumphi Police spokesperson Victor Khamisi and MDF acting spokesperson Lieutenant Wilned Chawinga confirmed the engagement of MDF and deployment of troops in the search mission.
Chawinga said upon noting that the police did not have the capacity to dive into the lake to search for victims, MDF deployed its divers from Chilumba to help in the search.
At the time of the interview last evening, Chawinga said about six divers were busy searching for the missing persons.
He said MDF was working with the police who are still searching for the other victims because they believe the boat was overloaded with over 50 people.
Khamisi also revealed that the boat, which is one of the reliable vessels in the area, was operating without life jackets.
Khamisi commended MDF for deploying the divers, saying the police in Rumphi does not have a marine department to help in such searches.
Rumphi district commissioner Lusizi Nhlane said some of the areas where the search was being conducted were very deep and MDF was forced to halt the search exercise to bring in equipment that would enable divers get to deeper areas. He said some of the areas were between 150 and 200 metres deep.