x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

At least 80 dead after ship capsizes in Congo River

Rescue efforts are ongoing to find survivors among about 200 passengers onboard the ferry from the Congolese capital, Kinshasa.

KINSHASA, CONGO // A boat ferrying about 200 passengers to Congo's capital capsized after hitting a rock, and a government spokesman said at least 80 people were confirmed dead. Rescuers were searching for dozens of missing people after the boating disaster on the Congo River near Maluku district about 130km from its destination, Information Minister Lambert Mende said.

The boat was heading to Kinshasa from western Bandundu province's district of Kwilu. Congo is a vast country of jungles and huge rivers in Central Africa with little more than 480km of paved road. Many people prefer to take boats even if they do not know how to swim. The boats are often in poor repair and filled beyond capacity. In May, dozens of people died when an overloaded canoe capsized on a river in eastern Congo. And last November, at least 90 people were killed after a logging boat sank on a lake in Congo. The timber-carrying vessel was not supposed to be carrying passengers. * Associated Press