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60 Dead, More than 200 Missing in Congo River Boating Accident

Children gather around a wooden boat conveying two bodies, in Mukwija in Eastern Congo, Jan. 6, 2021.

A Democratic Republic of Congo official said more than 200 people are missing after the boat they were on sank on the Congo River, claiming the lives of at least 60 people Sunday night in the country’s western Equateur province.

Humanitarian Affairs Minister Steve Mbikayi is calling for sanctions against those responsible, adding that the boat was overloaded with passengers and cargo. He said night navigation also played a role in the accident.

Mbikayi wrote on twitter Monday that 300 people survived the accident.

The boat was on a trip from the capital Kinshasa to Mbandaka when it capsized near Longola Ekoti.

Deadly boat accidents are common in the DRC. Boat accidents along the Congo River and its tributaries often end with fatalities because many passengers are not wearing safety vests and because they occur in remote locations where rescue efforts can be delayed.