Tragedy Strikes in DR Congo as 40 Lives Lost and 167 Still Unaccounted for in Boat Accident

Rescue teams are tirelessly searching for 167 individuals who remain unaccounted for following the tragic capsizing of a boat in the Democratic Republic of Congo last Friday, as confirmed by officials. The harrowing incident, which occurred in the Congo River, has seen the recovery of over 40 deceased victims, while 189 fortunate survivors were successfully rescued.

The boat was overloaded with more than 300 passengers and cargo, said a civil society group involved in rescue and recovery efforts.

Boats are a common mode of transport in DR Congo because of the lack of roads.

However, boat accidents are frequent due to overloading, a lack of maintenance and travelling at night.

Many passengers also do not wear life jackets.

Officials say that the boat was sailing at night in breach of safety regulations.

Prominent DR Congo opposition leader and presidential candidate in December's election, Moise Katumbi, said he was saddened by "this tragedy".

He said it was a "direct consequence" of the government "which tolerates the overnight navigation of dilapidated and overloaded boats".

UN-linked Radio Okapi reports that the provincial government of Equateur, where the accident happened, said it would provide psychological support for children who were injured in the accident and lost their parents.

Tragedy Strikes in DR Congo as 40 Lives Lost and 167 Still Unaccounted for in Boat Accident

The radio station said that more than 40 bodies had been so far recovered but the local civil society organisation, Conscious Generation, said that the number was 50.

A survivor told Radio Okapi that the boat, which had left the city of Mbandaka for the Bolomba area in the north-western Equateur province, stalled and lost balance due to overcrowding.

As the crew worked diligently to restore balance to the boat, it unfortunately capsized, taking both passengers and cargo down with it before sinking, as reported by one survivor.

On Sunday, the vice-governor of Equateur province supplied body bags and coffins to facilitate the dignified burials of a portion of the victims.

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