Local authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced on Saturday that more than 100 people died or went missing when a boat sank in the Congo River on Monday evening.
Friday evening, the bodies of 51 people were found, while 69 people are reported missing, according to Nestor Magbadou, spokesperson for the governor of the province of Mongala (northeast).
He confirmed to AFP that 39 people survived the disaster.
In the absence of a passenger declaration, the number of missing is based on estimates based on the number of people the boat can accommodate.
Magbadou explained that the boat was made up of nine motorboats connected to each other and not a boat per se. He thought he might have sunk from “overload and bad weather” at night.
Congolese media did not report details of the scale of the accident until Friday evening, and provincial authorities confirmed them to AFP on Saturday morning.
Mgbadou said the Mongolian authorities informed Kinshasa of the drowning immediately after the accident, “but we had reservations about the toll” and he needed “time to put all the elements together”.
The spokesman added that the search continues to recover more bodies, noting that the hope of finding more survivors “is dwindling day by day”.
A three-day mourning has been declared in the region, starting next Monday.