At least eleven people have drowned and dozens are missing after a barge sank on a river in central Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities said Tuesday.

Sixteen people survived the accident on the overcrowded vessel by swimming to safety on the Lukenye river, a journalist working for a local community radio told AFP.

The disaster — the latest in a string of deadly accidents in Congolese waters — occurred a week ago in a remote and densely forested region of Kasai province where rivers are the main means of transport due to a lack of driveable roads.

“We have recovered 11 bodies and about 50 people are missing,” Kasai governor Dieudonne Pieme said.

The local journalist said most of those on board were travelling to the DR Congo capital of Kinshasa.

Boat accidents are common in the vast country, typically caused by overloading of passengers and cargo.

Tolls are often high because there are no life jackets and many Congolese do not know how to swim.

AUZENI ANZANU PA
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Flora Mitumba
A holder of Diploma in journalism, obtained at Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) Blantyre campus.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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