At least 60 people have been found dead and hundreds are still missing after a boat sank in the Congo River in western Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on the night of Feb. 14.
DRC’s Humanitarian Action Minister Steve Mbikayi told media company Al-Jazeera that the boat had over 700 passengers when it sunk near the village of Longola Ekoti in Mai-Ndombe province.
“The main cause of the sinking remains the overload of goods and the excess number of passengers in the whaling boat,” Mbikayi told Al-Jazeera, adding that night navigation also contributed to the sinking.
Mbikayi said that the rescue team has so far rescued 300 survivors.
In a tweet, Mbiyaki demanded sanctions against those in the transport sector who are responsible for the disaster.
Such accidents are common in DRC as boats are often loaded with passengers and cargo beyond capacity, and passengers are often without life jackets. For most people in the African country, the Congo River is the only means of traveling long distances.