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58 dead after boat capsizes in Central Africa


At least 58 people travelling to a funeral in the Central African Republic's capital Bangui drowned after their overloaded river boat capsized, the head of civil protection said on Saturday.

“We were able to extract 58 lifeless bodies,” Thomas Djimasse told Radio Guira. “We don’t know the total number of underwater people.

According to the witnesses and videos on social media, the wooden boat was carrying more than 300 people who were standing and sitting on wooden structures when it sank on the Mpoko River on Friday.


A boat set sail from Bangui, travelling approximately 45 km (28 miles), bound for the funeral of village chief Makolo. However, shortly after departing from the pier, the boat encountered some problems.

Due to the prompt arrival of disaster services, the number of injured lives was reduced.

In a recorded speech played on television on Friday, the government's spokesperson Maxime Batelu announced the tragic news of "at least 30 victims" without any response from the state on Saturday.

The government expressed its condolences to the families of the victims. The president announced the establishment of a police investigation and assistance system for the relatives.

Maurice Kapenya, who had followed the boat in a canoe due to lack of space on board, provided a heart-wrenching account. He was the one who discovered the lifeless body of his sister among the other victims.


Driver Francis Maka said he drove over 10 people suffocating from the incident, medically treated, free of charge, to the local community clinic.

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