Strong winds drown boat in Lake Albert between Uganda and Congo, 26 dead

At least 26 people died after a boat drowned on Lake Albert on the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday, officials said.

Strong winds caused the vessel to go under water, AFP quoted an official on scene.

The boat was carrying about 50 people when the accident occurred. At least 21 people were rescued.

A marine officer said poor safety and fast-changing weather meant accidents were common on the lake.

The boat was travelling between two locations on the Ugandan side when the strong winds blew up and capsized it.

Rescuers did not expect to find any more survivors and hence called of the search.

Both Congolese and Ugandan nationals were on the boat and were among the victims.

“Because of failure to adhere to safety measures and fast-changing weather patterns, Lake Albert has many accidents,” regional police marine officer Samuel Onyango said.

Associated Press quoting one person saying many of the victims were trying to return illegally to the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) to avoid the coronavirus restrictions that have stopped most traffic between the DRC and Uganda.

Lake Albert, which is Africa’s seventh-largest lake, has been the scene of considerable loss of life in previous boat accidents.

In 2014, more than 250 refugees died when a vessel capsized while carrying far more people than its capacity.

And in another Christmas accident, in 2016, 30 members of a Ugandan football team drowned on the lake when a boat sank.