DR Congo boat sinking: River disaster kills 50 people

About 50 people have died after a boat capsized on a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials say. The vice-governor of Tshuapa province in the north of the country said the cause of the accident was not clear.

More than 60 people survived when the boat tipped over as it was travelling from Monkoto to Mbandaka.

River transport is common in DR Congo as there are few roads or railways, but vessels are often overloaded and accidents are frequent.

Mbandaka is also currently struggling with an outbreak of Ebola, with fears that it could spread from the city of one million to the capital, Kinshasa, via traders using the Congo river.

Tshuapa Vice-Governor Richard Mboyo Iluka told the AFP news agency that the boat had been travelling at night, which is illegal, and did not have lights.

More bodies are still being found along the Momboyo river, where the accident occurred.

The area is very remote with no access to a mortuary, so the victims are being hastily buried near the river.

Last month more than 40 people drowned when travelling to neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville.  – BBC