Death toll from Madagascar boat accident rises to 85

The wreck of the boat 'Francia', that sank off the coast on Monday, is pulled to the beach in northeastern Madagascar, December 22, 2021 in this picture obtained from social media. © Madagascar Ministry of National Defence, via Reuters

The wreck of the boat 'Francia', that sank off the coast on Monday, is pulled to the beach in northeastern Madagascar, December 22, 2021 in this picture obtained from social media.

The death toll from a boat accident off the coast of Madagascar rose to 85 as bad weather ended the search for five missing passengers, the country’s maritime agency said on Wednesday.

The wreck of the boat ‘Francia’, that sank off the coast on Monday, is pulled to the beach in northeastern Madagascar, December 22, 2021, in this picture obtained from social media. /Madagascar Ministry of National Defence, via Reuters

Maritime authorities said 138 people were on the 12-foot-long boat carrying cargo which sank on Monday, adding that only 50 had been rescued.

The dead include five children.

The director of operations at sea at the Maritime and River Port Agency said the ship was not authorized to take passengers and was overloaded.

Initial investigations suggested the vessel’s engine had a “technical problem”, according to the agency.

President Andry Rajoelina announced a national day of mourning for Thursday.