One killed, 22 missing after boat sinks in DRC

2015-11-30 20:27

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Goma - One child died and 22 people were missing on Monday after their boat sank in Lake Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said.

Nearby fishermen helped pluck 25 other passengers from the water after the commuter vessel capsized in the middle of the vast lake, said Jean-Bosco Bahati, the navy commander for North Kivu province, who visited the scene of the accident.

"A child about five years old has died, 25 were saved and 22 are missing," Carly Nzanzu Kasivita, the provincial land affairs minister, told reporters.

The captain said tragedy struck after the boat began taking on water around midday. "I saw huge waves beating against the window. The water came into the boat and we capsized soon after," Bujiriri Kitambala told AFP, still visibly shaken by the incident.

The boat ran a shuttle service between the towns of Bukavu and Goma, the respective capitals of South and North Kivu provinces, which lie at the southern and northern ends of the lake.

Shipping accidents are frequent in the DRC, whose people rely on the many waterways for transport. Boats are often overcrowded and lack the appropriate safety equipment, while there are few signposts on the waterways.

Read more on:    drc  |  central africa

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