At least 27 people have died and over 70 are missing after a boat capsized in the Congo River. The incident occurred in the city of Mbandaka in Equateur Province. The cause of the accident is under investigation, with one local civil society group stating that it was due to an engine failure. Boat accidents are common in the region due to the use of makeshift boats that are often overloaded. The Congolese government has banned night travel to prevent such accidents, although many disregard the directive.
A tragic incident occurred in Congo’s northwest as a boat capsized, resulting in the loss of at least 27 lives. The accident took place in the city of Mbandaka in Equateur Province, where a locally made boat was transporting over 100 passengers along the Congo River to Bolomba. Unfortunately, the boat encountered an engine failure, causing it to sink.
The deputy provincial governor, Taylor Nganzi, confirmed that the bodies of 27 victims had been recovered and transported to the morgue of the general hospital in Mbandaka. However, a local civil society group, the New Civil Society of Congo, reported that 49 people lost their lives in the accident. Discrepancies in death tolls are common in such incidents in Congo, making it difficult to confirm the exact number of casualties.
Following the tragedy, rescuers and volunteers initiated a search for survivors and bodies. The families of the victims mourned their loved ones, joining the efforts to find closure. Nganzi stated that the river services were supervising the search, providing support to the victims’ families.
Boat accidents are unfortunately frequent on the Congo River and the nation’s lakes due to the prevalent use of makeshift boats that are often overloaded. In the northwest region, where good roads are scarce, the majority of the population relies on rivers for transportation due to their affordability. To prevent accidents, the Congolese government had implemented a ban on night travel throughout the country. However, many individuals continue to defy this directive.
An investigation into the cause of the accident has commenced to shed light on the circumstances that led to this tragedy. It is crucial to address the safety issues surrounding water transportation in the region and provide better alternatives to ensure the well-being of the Congolese people..