Nsanje Police Officer in-Charge Assistant Commissioner of Police Kirby Kaunga confirmed the incident.
Kaunga said the canoe was being operated by a young man who failed to balance as it was approaching a docking area.
He said the canoe hit the right embankment of the dock and it capsized before sinking.
“We do not have an official report on the incident but what we have gathered is that the people were on their way to Mozambique where they do agricultural activities. The canoe carried 15 including the operator. Four people survived and the rest are missing.
“We are currently searching for the people who are missing,” said the Nsanje Police Officer In-Charge.
A 16-year-old young man of Thawalawa village in the area of Senior Chief Malemia who survived the accident said all his parents and relations who were traveling with him in the canoe are still missing.
“I was with my father, mother and my two siblings in the canoe. We were travelling to Mozambique to harvest our crops. I am the only survivor in [my family] the accident,” he explained.
Many families in Nsanje cross the Shire River to garden in Mozambique because of shortage of land for cultivation in their areas.
This is one of the worse drowning incidents to have occurred in the district.