DR Congo: vessel capsised, 36 people declared missing

DR Congo police announced that at least 36 people have gone missing after a passenger vessel sank in the Congo river on the outskirts of Kinshasa on Sunday.

The boat, which was travelling by the Congo River heading to the capital, went down overnight in Maluku commune, 100km away from the city’s centre. 76 passengers have been saved.

Police spokesperson Colonel Pierrot-Rombaut Mwanamputu stated that the cause of the accident is not yet known.

Such accidents are common in the country due to the poor condition of the highway system. In this way, a lot of people have to use lake and river transport to travel within the country. Most of the accidents are often caused by overloading and the unsafe state of vessels.

“The boat involved was called a “baleiniere” or “whaler” – a commonly-used flat-bottomed vessel between 15 to 30 metres (50 to 100 feet) long by two to six metres wide.”

The public transport situation in DR Congo is worsened by the fact that the passengers are just not equipped with life jackets and many cannot swim.

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