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At least 73 dead in Congo boat accident: Red Cross

Last Updated: Sunday, November 29, 2009 - 00:19

Kinshasa: At least 73 people were killed and others missing after a logging boat sank in a lake in western Democratic Republic of Congo, a Red Cross official said on Saturday.
The boat sank in bad weather and had been transporting logs on Lake Mai Ndombe in Bandundu province with no authorisation to take on passengers, United Nations-sponsored Radio Okapi said.

"We are at 272 survivors and 73 dead. These are bodies that we have found along the shores of the lake," Dominic Lutula, president of the Congolese Red Cross told Reuters.

"There are still some people missing. But we don`t know how many because there was no ship`s manifest," he added.

Radio Okapi said the boat, owned by a logging company called Sodefor, sank at around 8 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Wednesday.

Despite its vast mineral wealth, roads are almost non-existent outside Congo`s main towns. Travel is often limited to aircraft and the boats that ply its huge network of rivers.

Accidents are frequent due to overloading, lack of maintenance, and lax enforcement of safety standards.

At least 14 people died in September after their boat sank on an isolated stretch of the Lualaba river in the southern province of Katanga.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, November 29, 2009 - 00:19

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