Winds capsize boats in Togo, 36 dead


Thirty-six people were killed when gusting winds capsized several boats on a lake in southeastern Togo at the weekend, the government and witnesses said.

The passengers were returning from a funeral on the other side of Lake Togo, about 45 km (28 miles) from the capital Lome, when the accident occurred late on Sunday.

The office of Prime Minister Gilbert Houngbo, who visited the site on Monday, said 57 people were in the boats when they capsized and only 21 survived, Reuters reports.

A survivor who was not identified told a radio station they were surprised by the violent winds, which always precede heavy rain in the tropics.
“When the winds hit, the largest boat carrying some men and drums capsized first. Then two or three other smaller boats carrying women and children also capsized,” the survivor said, adding that he lost three of his children who were accompanying him.

Lakes and rivers are widely used for transport in Africa where roads and railways are poor, but accidents are common, frequently as a result of overloading and poor maintenance.