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At least 9 dead as DRC boat sinks

24 December 2012, 08:13

Kinshasa - At least nine people died and many more could be missing after a boat sank in the Congo River not far from Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, officials said Sunday.

The accident took place late on Friday in the Maluku area of the Congolese capital, Maluku mayor Papy Epiana said.

"We've collected nine bodies and 197 survivors," he said.

But he did not know how many people were missing and investigators had not yet found a passenger manifest.

Radio Okapi, a local, UN-backed radio station said those on the boat had estimated that almost 300 people had been on board, as well as several tons of cargo.

According to initial findings, the accident was due to human error on the part of the captain, Transport Minister Justin Kalumba told AFP.

A better estimate of how many people were on board should come within a day or two, he added.

Shipwrecks occur frequently in the DRC. They are usually caused by overloading or human error and exacerbated by a lack of safety equipment.



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