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October 19, 2013

Death Toll from Mali Boat Accident Rises to 72

by VOA News

Authorities in Mali say the death toll from a boat accident near the town of Konna last week has more than tripled to 72.

Security Minister Sada Samake says rescuers found were able to refloat the boat and when they did, they found more bodies inside.

During a Friday news conference, government officials said more than 200 people survived the accident.

Investigators say the boat was overloaded with passengers and cargo when it broke apart and sank on the Niger River.

They believe hundreds of people were on board when the nighttime accident occurred on October 11.

Officials say the boat was traveling from the northern town of Mopti to Timbuktu.

The Niger River is a major transportation route for people in northern Mali.

Large boats carrying hundreds of passengers and cargo routinely travel the river and other key West and Central African waterways.

Safety regulations are lax and accidents are common.