Tanzania shipwreck survivor recalls holding on for life for over 40 hours: ‘I knew it was my turn to die’

A man who survived a horrifying shipwreck in Africa last fall is remembering the mental strength it took to stay alive for over 40 hours inside the ship’s hull, as hundreds of other passengers drowned.

The ferry capsized in Lake Victoria near Tanzania on Sept. 20.

Augustine Charahani, the engineer of the Nyerere, clung to a staircase in the capsized boat for about 42 or 43 hours, as The New York Times reported.

“I knew it was my turn to die, but I remained hopeful that someone out there was coming,” he thought to himself during his ordeal.

More than 260 people were on the ferry, which had a capacity for 101 passengers.

About 40 people survived, however, and 228 people drowned.

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The MV Nyerere, named for the former president who led the East African nation to independence, was traveling between the islands of Ukara and Ukerewe when it sank.

Charahani survived through sheer will.

He felt faint with hunger. He faced starvation and heat exhaustion. But he kept going.

The father of four thought of his family to keep himself alive.

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When he finally was rescued, he was filled with the utmost gratitude.

“This is my second chance to live,” he thought.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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