At least four schoolchildren and two others are amongst the dead after a makeshift ferry capsized in Trincomalee earlier today, sparking anger from local residents in the region who attacked the home of a local parliamentarian.
Sri Lankan police confirmed that the makeshift ferry in Kinniya was carrying mostly schoolchildren and teachers who were travelling to school, before it capsized around 0730 local time.
At the time of the incident, 23 people, including 17 schoolchildren, were reportedly onboard.
The Sri Lankan navy claims to have recovered at least 6 bodies from the water, with boats searching whilst hundreds of locals looked on.
As the scale of the tragedy became clear, locals vented their fury at local parliamentarian M. S. Thowfeek, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya’s electoral alliance candidate in Trincomalee District.
His house was stormed by angry locals who caused damage to the front entryway, as images of the dead schoolchildren began to circulate on social media.
The makeshift ferry, made of a barge and with few safety measures in place, was travelling from Kurinchakeni to Kinniya. Residents said that the ferry service was in operation only due to construction delays of a new bridge that is supposedly being built in the area.
The Sri Lankan navy meanwhile has announced an end to search operations.