At least 145 feared dead after sinking Congo boat

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KINSHASA, Congo (UKTN) — At least 145 passengers are missing and feared dead after a motorized boat overloaded with goods and animals sank overnight on a river in northwestern Congo, authorities said Thursday.

About 55 people survived the disaster, officials said. The boat was on its way to neighboring Republic of Congo when it capsized on the Lulonga River late Tuesday near the town of Basankusu.

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

“There is currently no other means of transportation in our province and here in Basankusu territory,” he said.

Boat sinkings with dozens of fatalities are all too common in remote parts of Congo, where road travel is sometimes impossible. Many vessels are overloaded with goods and people who cannot swim. Rescue operations are extremely limited in remote parts of the country.

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

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