DR Congo Boat Sinks, Nine Dead, Dozens Missing

A boat sank on a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday, leaving several dead, according to officials in the African country.

The accident occurred along the Congo River near Maluku (part of the country’s capital city of Kinshasa) and nine people have been confirmed dead, according to CNN.

About 100 people were still missing as of Sunday afternoon. Papy Epiano, the mayor of Maluki, confirmed that there were at least nine people dead, but that they have yet to receive a copy of the ship’s manifest, because “we haven’t seen the general or the commander.”

Epiano added, “We have recovered nine bodies since Friday.” The vessel that crashed, the MB Mobek, was carrying several tons of merchandise when it struck an unidentified obstacle and began to sink.

The African Review notes that the accident took place around 9:30 pm local time and that Radio Okapi, a local radio station backed by the United Nations, believes there were about 300 people on the boat at the time of its sinking.

Even with the manifest, the number is likely still undetermined, because people sometimes sneak onto the river boats to secure free passage. Transport Minister Justin Kalumba stated that, according to initial findings, the accident was caused by human error on the part of the boat’s captain.

Shipwrecks are not uncommon for the country because of overloading and human error, as well as a lack of safety equipment. There is also frequent traffic along the country’s meandering rivers, because of a lack of safe roads and other infrastructure.