At least 20 people are missing in Malawi after a canoe they were sailing in was hit by a hippo and capsized on the Shire River in the southern Nsanje region.

A Senior Official in Nsanje District, Robert Nayeja said the canoe was carrying about 37 people going to their fields on the Mozambican side, state-owned MBC TV reported.

A body of an infant, who was among the passengers, has been retrieved.

Senior Police Officer, Agnes Zalakoma has told the VOA that the death toll is expected to rise as detectives and rescue teams search for the missing people. So far, 13 people have been rescued.

A lawmaker for the area said the river was infested with crocodiles and hippos and the boats operating there were not motorboats.

The boat mishap is the third deadly accident on the river in three years.

Malawi is recovering from a devastating tropical storm in March that killed 511 people and left 533 others missing.

BBC/ Titilayo Kupoliyi

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