14 missing as boat capsizes in Lake Tanganyika: DR Congo official

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Fourteen people are missing after a boat capsized on Lake Tanganyika in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a local official said Thursday.

The boat left the town of Uvira in South Kivu province late Tuesday, heading for Baraka.

Eleven people survived after it capsized but 14 others remain missing including “all (seven) members of the crew” plus two members of the military and five other passengers, Uvira administrator Julie Malenga Sango told AFP.

“No bodies have been recovered so far, the Red Cross and the maritime services are still carrying out a search,” she said, adding that there had been strong winds at the time of the accident and the boat was overloaded.

Boat accidents are frequent in the DRC, a country the size of continental western Europe where roads are poor and many people travel by waterway.

The loss of life is often accentuated by the fact that few people in the DRC learn how to swim.

In April 2019, after a boat capsized in Lake Kivu, President Felix Tshisekedi attempted to introduce safety measures, including the mandatory carrying of life belts and a ban on night-time sailing. But the measures were never implemented.

Lake Tanganyika, one of Africa’s Great Lakes and one of the biggest in the world, is shared by four countries — the DRC, Tanzania, Burundi and Zambia.

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