At least 60 people died after a boat capsized around 700 in Mai-Ndombe province, the minister for humanitarian aid says.

Kinshasa, DRC – At least 60 people have died and hundreds are missing after a boat capsized in the Congo in the Western Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to a government official.

Steve Mbikayi, Minister for Humanitarian Aid, told Al Jazeera on Monday that 700 people were aboard the ship that sank near the village of Longola Ekoti in Mai-Ndombe province the previous night.

“So far, the rescue team has recovered 60 lifeless bodies and 300 survivors. After this shipwreck there are still some missing, ”said Mbikayi.

The ship had left the capital Kinshasa and was going to the Equator Province.

“The main cause of the sinking remains the overloading of goods and the excessive number of passengers in the whaling boat,” said the minister, adding that “night shipping also played a role in the sinking”.

Boating accidents are common in the vast mineral-rich country, as ships are often overloaded with passengers and cargo. Most passengers traveling on ships also often do not wear life jackets.

Last month, at least three people, two children and a woman drowned after a passenger boat sank in Lake Kivu.

In May 2020, 10 people, including an eight-year-old girl, died after the recreational boat on which they capsized in Lake Kivu. In July 2010, more than 135 people died after a boat capsized in western Bandundu Province.

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