- At least 47 passengers were killed and 100 more missing after a motorised boat sank on a remote stretch of river in Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said.
The accident happened on Tuesday at a point on Ubangi River, 200 kilometers east of the Central African Republic (CAR) capital, Bangui, Kinshasa-based broadcaster said, citing Mr Mathieu Bela, district commissioner of North Ubangi.
"The accident happened on Tuesday night when the boat struck a rock in the dark. There are no signs or signals, which does nothing to help navigation," he said.
Mr Bela said a boat headed to CAR was carrying at least 182 passengers, mostly merchants but also women and children, saying it sank after it left Congo town of Mobayi Bongo.
“Most vessels do not comply with the basic safety requirements, lack proper navigation and emergency equipment such as life jackets, and also have inadequate lighting,” he emphasised.
Rescue workers had saved 22 passengers, but recovered 42 bodies from the river, which runs along DRC's northern border with Central African Republic, said Felix Ibula of the authorities in nearby Gbadolite.
"We don't know at this time if some passengers, in addition to the 22 survivors, were able to save themselves," added Mr Ibula.
A number of Congolese have drowned in the river due to overloading as they opt for small boats instead of using bad and heavily warn out roads. The country's waterways are also poorly surveyed, increasing the risk of accidents.
Congo has vast mineral-rich areas, but roads are almost non-existent outside the main towns, so travel is often limited to airplanes and boats plying its huge network of rivers.
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