A boat that was ferrying goods and at least 38 people across Lake Kivu to the town of Bukavu, tipped over and sank at around 4:00 am this morning, according to the provincial chief of police, General Augustin Luzembo.
Over 30 people are missing and presumed dead after the boat they were traveling in capsized in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United Nations peacekeeping mission said the accident appeared to have taken place amid strong winds and poor weather. UN spokesman Alexandre Essome said the mission was sending a team to the scene.
“There were seven survivors,” Luzembo told Reuters by telephone from Bukavu, without giving any details as to why the boat sank. An official from the transport ministry in Kinshasa said it was not yet clear how many people had died in the accident.
Luzembo said the boat was traveling to Bukavu from Minova, near the town of Goma in the north, when the accident happened near the island of Ntaligeza, around 70 km from Bukavu.
Boat accidents are common in the Congo due to poor maintenance and overloading, and death tolls are often high as many passengers are unable to swim. Many rely on boats for transportation as the country’s road network is virtually non-existent.