July 25, 2008

Forty-Two Drown, 115 Missing After Boat Sinks in DRCongo River

Text of report by French state-funded public broadcaster Radio France Internationale on 25 July

[Presenter] At least 42 passengers are said to have drowned, 115 are missing and only 20 survivors after a boat sank on the Ubangi river in northwestern [DR]Congo- Kinshasa on Tuesday [22 July].

The accident took place on the Ubangi river in the northern [DR]Congolese district of Ubangi and the prefecture of the Basse Coto [as heard] in Central African Republic [CAR], Sophie Epstein do we have any further information on the circumstances of this accident?

[Epstein] The motorboat was carrying 182 passengers and a heavy load of goods when it hit a rock and immediately sank into the river Ubangi - the river marking the border between the DRCongo and the CAR - The passengers included DRCongolese and Central African nationals. So far 42 bodies have been recovered, 115 people are still missing and there are 20 survivors. Joint investigations involving both countries have begun and should determine if overloading was the cause of the accident. A [DR]Congolese officer in charge of investigations said the boat hit a rock because it was dark and the area has a lot of barely visible rocks. He added that as yet no humanitarian assistance has been received from either the [DR]Congo or from the CAR.

Originally published by Radio France Internationale, Paris, in French 1230 25 Jul 08.

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