The death toll has risen to 47 after a boat carrying about 300 people sank four days ago in the province of Equateur in the northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Minister of Transport Marc Ekila said late Monday.
The shipwreck, which occurred Friday night on the Congo River, killed at least 47 people, while an unknown number remains missing, said the minister. He specified that the tragedy was due to “overloading.”
“As the boat was in an irregular situation, we were unable to obtain the manifest which could allow us to determine exactly the number of passengers who were on board,” he added.
In a video statement released Sunday, Taylor Nganzi, the deputy governor of the province, reported the discovery of 28 dead bodies, with 261 people reported missing by relatives of the victims.
The deputy governor, who visited the scene of the accident, said that responsibilities would be strictly established without any complacency toward the culprits.
According to provincial authorities, the boat late Friday left the port of Mbandaka, the province’s port city on the Congo River, for Bolomba, which is more than 300 km from Mbandaka.
“We have asked the provincial authorities to set up a commission of inquiry,” Ekila said.