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Over 100 drown as boat sinks in Congo river; 51 bodies recovered

KINSHASA, Oct 9: More than 100 people have drowned when a makeshift, overcrowded boat sank in Congo river, provincial authorities said.

The provincial authorities have declared a three-day mourning from Monday for the dead.

The vessel was reportedly made up of traditional wooden canoes, known as pirogues.

Fifty-one bodies have been recovered by late Friday. The boat sank Monday-Tuesday night. Another 69 are believed to be missing, Nestor Magbado, a spokesman for the Governor of the northwestern province of Mongala, told AFP. He said there were 39 survivors.

Search and rescue operations are continuing. It is unlikely more survivors will be found.

Boat accidents are common in the mineral-rich country because vessels are often overloaded with passengers and cargo. At least 60 people died in February after a vessel carrying 700 passengers capsized on the Congo River in Mai-Ndombe province.

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