163 drown in Congo boat-collision
KINSHASA: At least 163 people were drowned when two ferries collided on a lake in Democratic Republic of Congo, more than the 50 initially reported missing, the government said on Thursday.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Nzuzi wa Mbombo said 222 people had escaped the disaster involving two ferries carrying an estimated 450-500 people. The accident occurred on Monday during a storm.
Villagers in wooden canoes rescued many of what authorities said were 222 survivors, saving them from waves whipped by winds to 2 meters high.
Congo’s government blamed a violent storm for the collision late Tuesday night on Mai-Ndombe lake, which drains into the Congo River.
News reached the capital, Kinshasa, 450 kilometers to the south, only late Wednesday. Authorities gave the first death tolls on Thursday. Nzuzi said the vessels were carrying a total of 450 to 500 people. —Agencies