Boat carrying 700 people capsizes in DR Congo, dozens dead

At least 60 people drowned to death and hundreds went missing after a boat carrying 700 people capsized in the Congo River in western Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a government official.

Steve Mbikayi, minister for humanitarian action said the boat sunk near the village of Longola Ekoti, in Mai-Ndombe province on the intermediate night between Sunday and Monday.

“So far the rescue team has recovered 60 lifeless bodies and 300 survivors. There are still several missing after this shipwreck,” Mbikayi said.

The vessel had departed from the capital, Kinshasa, and was heading to Equator province.

“The main cause of the sinking remains the overload of goods and the excess number of passengers in the whaling boat,” the minister said, adding “that night navigation also played a role in the sinking”.

Boat accidents are common in the vast mineral-rich country because vessels are often overloaded with passengers and cargo. Most of the passengers travelling on vessels also often do not wear life jackets.