Bangui boat tragedy: Ferry carrying over 300 people to funeral capsizes in Central Africa, 58 killed

Bangui boat tragedy
Image Source : AP/FILE Representational Image

Bangui boat tragedy: Around 58 people on their way to a village funeral died after their riverboat capsized in the Central African Republic’s capital Bangui on Friday, an official said on Saturday. According to news agency the Associated Press, the wooden ferry was carrying more than 300 people to a funeral over the Mpoko River in the capital, Bangui, on Friday when it started to collapse.

Local boat pilots and fishermen were the first to react and rescue victims and collected bodies from the river before the emergency services arrived. One fisherman who was involved in the rescue, Adrien Mossamo, said that at least 20 bodies were found while waiting for the military to arrive. “It’s a horrible day,” he said.

Death toll may increase 

The death toll is rising as the military takes over the search, officials at Bangui University Hospital Center said. The exact number of deaths is currently unknown and the government didn’t comment.

Civil society groups and local political parties sent their condolences in social media posts and called for an inquest into the sinking.

“We were alerted 40 minutes after the incident and rescuers were able to extract around 58 lifeless bodies,” civil protection department head Thomas Djimasse told Reuters.

He added, in a telephone interview, that the search was continuing with more people possibly drowned in the Mpoko River.

Government spokesperson Maxime Balalou gave a death toll of over 30 and called for better compliance with river transport safety regulations.

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