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1-year-old child dead, 23 people missing after hippopotamus capsizes canoe

Mippopotamuses on Jan. 1, 2019, are immersed in the Shire River at the National Park in Malawi, Africa (Cristian Umili/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — A 1-year-old child died and 23 people were missing and feared dead after a hippopotamus charged into and capsized a canoe on a river in southern Malawi, authorities said Tuesday.

The long wooden canoe was carrying 37 people across the Shire River on their way to neighboring Mozambique when it was hit by the hippo in the Nsanje district on Monday.

Malawian police rescued 13 with the help of World Food Program personnel who were working in the area and provided boats for the rescue operation, Nsanje District Police Commissioner Dominic Mwandira said.

The people were feared dead because the search had been going on for more than 24 hours, police spokesperson Agnes Zalakoma said.

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera sent Minister of Water and Sanitation Abida Mia to the scene. She said locals told her hippos often caused problems in the area and they wanted authorities to relocate some of the animals.