Over 100 feared dead after river boat capsizes in DR Congo

(Representative photo only)

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have confirmed that 145 people are missing and are presumed dead after a boat capsized and sank in the country’s northwest on Tuesday, January 17.

The vessel was underway on the Lulonga River near the town of Basankusu in Equateur province and en route to the neighbouring Republic of the Congo when the incident occurred.

Only 55 of the boat’s occupants have so far been rescued. At the time, the vessel was also transporting goods and live animals.

A local resident told reporters that the incident is to be blamed on overloading, as those living in Equateur have few other options with regards to transport within the province.

Equateur reportedly suffers from an inadequate road network, forcing residents to rely on river boats when travelling within the province and to neighbouring regions.

The capsizing is the second fatal vessel incident to occur in Equateur in less than a year. In October, more than 40 people were killed after a boat sailing on the Congo River was lost under similar circumstances.

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