20 people have drowned after their boat capsized near a village in the central Senegal, firefighters said Tuesday, AFP reports.
Commander Oumar Kane, a senior official with Senegal’s national firefighters,confirmed to AFP that the wooden boat overturned Monday night, with with 72 on board, all except two of them women.
“Unfortunately, we have 20 dead bodies and one missing,” Kane told AFP on Tuesday. “The search is ongoing” through 51 people had been saved so far, he added.
Earlier reports by a Senegalese radio station reported that of the dead were 17 women and 2 men.
Private station RFM says the boat was carrying at least 60 people who had gone to gather oysters Monday in the waters off Bettenty village.
Senegal’s central region is made up of a number of small islands and villages.
Accidents are common as boats often are overloaded with residents rarely wearing life vests.
Senegalese President Macky Sall has called for three days of mourning.