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At least 15 die, 160 disappear in two boating accidents in DR Congo

09-06-2010 14:44 BJT

KINSHASA, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- At least 15 people died and 160 disappeared in two boating accidents over the weekend in the Democratic Republic of Congo, media reports and officials said Monday.

The first accident took place in the early hours of Sunday when a boat capsized on the Ruki River in Equateur province, leaving 15 people dead and at least 60 disappearing, the United Nations-backed Radio Okapi reported, citing government spokesperson Rebecca Ebala.

A survivor said the boat capsized after hitting a trunk immersed underwater, according to the spokesperson.

In the second accident, a commercial boat carrying about 100 people caught fire and capsized on the Kasai River Sunday night in Occidental province. Almost all the people went missing.

The Congolese government has convened a meeting and ordered to investigate the cause of the accidents.

Some media reports have put the total death toll of the two accidents at 270, saying the second boat carried 200 people who all died in the accident.

Boating accidents are common in Congo as the industry lacks regulation and good management. Many operators pack their boats with passengers and goods to dangerous levels.

An accident in July on the Kasai River left more than 100 dead. In May, dozens of people died when an overloaded canoe capsized on a river in eastern Congo.

Congo, located in Central Africa, is a country of jungles and huge rivers with very few paved roads. Taking boats is the common way for transportation.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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