At least 38 dead after boat sinks in Congo


At least 38 people died in the Democratic Republic of Congo when the boat they were travelling in capsized yesterday, the Red Cross said.

The boat was ferrying goods and people across Lake Kivu to the town of Bukavu when it tipped over and sank at around 4 a.m. (0200 GMT), according to the provincial chief of police, General Augustin Luzembo.

A rescue team from the Red Cross recovered 38 bodies and 12 survivors from the lake, and the death toll was expected to rise, Desire Yuma, the head of the South Kivu mission of the Red Cross, told Reuters.
“The maritime service told us there were 38 passengers listed on the manifest but the survivors say there were more than 100 people on board,” he said.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission said the accident appeared to have taken place amid strong winds and poor weather, but was unable to provide a death toll.

Luzembo said the boat was travelling from Minova, near the town of Goma in the north, when the accident happened near the island of Ntaligeza, around 70 km (43 miles) from Bukavu.

Boats are an important mode of transport in Congo, a vast country where the road network is virtually non-existent.

Accidents are common due to poor maintenance and overloading, and death tolls are often high as many passengers are unable to swim.