100 missing in Congo boat accident
Tue, 03 May 2011 00:03:06 GMT
An overloaded boat has capsized in the Democratic Republic of Congo and about 100 people are still missing, the UN-backed Radio Okapi reported on Monday.
The vessel was carrying at least 150 passengers in the Katoka area, 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Tshikapa, a town in Kasai-Occidental province, when it sank at around 1:00 am (0000 GMT).
The boat was sailing from Biponga in the Llebo area to Tshikapa, 180 kilometers (112 miles) away, the radio report said.
Congolese Information Minister Lambert Mende confirmed the incident, saying the boat should not have been carrying passengers and was not equipped for travelling after dark.
“We do not have the exact number of people on board. Thirty have been rescued and are safe but a good many more are missing,” he told Reuters.
Survivors told Radio Okapi that the boat was carrying about 300 people and sank on the Kasai River, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the town of Tshikapa, due to overloading.
Last week at least 40 people died on Lake Kivu, in the eastern Congo, when the boat they were travelling in capsized.
Rivers and lakes are vital transport routes for people and produce in the vast Central African country, which has virtually no road network.
Accidents are common, often caused by poor maintenance and overcrowding.