36 lives claimed after ship sinks in DRC

According to a police announcement on Sunday, Thirty-six people have been declared missing when the cargo and passenger ship sank on the Congo River in the Kinshasa region, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo

The death toll from the sinking of a “whaling ship” in Congo is “36 missing persons and 76 survivors”, police reported on twitter.

Police spokesperson, Colonel Pierrot-Rombaut Mwanamputu, shed more light on the accident but said that they are yet to figure out the actual cause of the accident. “The tragedy occurred on the night of Saturday to Sunday. The causes of the accident are not yet known,” he said.

The boat from Mai-Ndombe (west) to Kinshasa sank in the commune of Maluku, located about 100 km from the city centre, place where the current of the great river is strong.

Accidents are frequent on DRC’s waterways due to the dilapidated state of the boats, their overloading of passengers and freight and the lack of buoyage. The assessments are aggravated by the fact that in the majority of cases, passengers do not wear life jackets and most do not know how to swim.

Due to the scarcity of regular company boats, local residents resort to motorized pirogues or other “whaleboats”, a kind of barge where hundreds of people crowd. In a similar incident back in August, 15 people died in a motorized pirogue shipwreck in Bukavu on Lake Kivu (east).