The gutted cruise boat
By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawian Michael Phiri, 51, who is a chef of a cruise boat, Shamayanzi Luxury Houseboat that caught fire on Monday and claimed two lives, is reported to be still missing.
A statement today (Tuesday) from that country’s Minister of Tourism, Lindiwe Sisulu confirms that the tragic accident that took place on Lake Jozini near Pongola in northern KwaZulu-Natal, claimed the life of a German tourist and a crew member.
In her condolence, which did not disclose the cause of the fire, Sisulu expressed deep concern at the continued missing of the Malawian chef.
According to timeslive.co.za, the cruise boat owners, Shayamanzi Luxury House Boats — a long-established family business — also did not indicate what caused the fire and how the Malawi managed to go missing.
In a statement on its website, Shayamanzi Luxury House Boats says: “We are heartbroken to inform you, that as a result of a fire on Shayamanzi l, a tragic accident has resulted in a loss of life of one of our guests and a crew member. A second crew member is missing.
“As a long-established family-owned business, we are devastated and are doing everything possible to understand and support the investigation and impact on our guests, crew and their families.”
A family spokesperson, Kim Blevin is quoted as saying more communication will be released at a later stage and that family members were out at the scene — “shocked and battling to deal with the unfolding tragedy”.
According to timeslive.co.za, the affect boat is named Shayamanzi I — a 25 by 8 metre double pontoon houseboat that was first launched by KwaZulu-Natal agriculture and environmental affairs MEC Dr. Narend Singh on October 18, 2002.
Quoting the Shayamanzi website, timeslive.co.za says “the boat has six en-suite cabins serviced by four crew, two tender boats and an eight-seater jacuzzi.