Fears over 145 people missing after Congolese river boat sinks
20th January 2023

Major tragedy feared after overloaded boat sinks on Congolese river leaving 145 passengers and crew missing

  • Officials fear 145 passengers and crew may have died when a boat sank in Congo
  • About 55 survived the disaster after the vessel capsized on the Lulonga River 
  • It is claimed the boat may have been overloaded when it was swamped 
  • Poor road links in the area mean many people and goods are transported by boat

At least 145 passengers are missing and feared dead after a motorised boat overloaded with goods and animals sank at night on a river in northwestern Congo.

About 55 people survived the disaster, officials said. The boat had been travelling to neighbouring Republic of Congo when it capsized in the Lulonga River late on Tuesday near the town of Basankusu.

Jean-Pierre Wangela, the president of civil society groups in the area, told journalists that at least 145 people were missing. He blamed overloading for the boat’s sinking, but said locals have few other options.

‘There’s no other means of transport currently in our province and here in the territory of Basankusu,’ he said.

The boat sank in the Lulonga River in Congo on Tuesday evening when some 145 people are feared to have lost their lives according to officials

Boat sinkings causing dozens of fatalities are all too common in remote parts of Congo, where travel by road is at times impossible

Boat sinkings causing dozens of fatalities are all too common in remote parts of Congo, where travel by road is at times impossible. 

Many watercraft are overloaded with goods and people. Rescue operations are extremely limited in remote parts of the country.

In October, more than 40 people died on the Congo River in Equateur province under similar circumstances.

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