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At least 50 dead after a boat capsizes in Central African Republic

Published:

NEW DELHI: At least 50 people died after a river boat, en route to a

funeral

, capsized in

Mpoko river

in the

Central African Republic

‘s capital

Bangui

, civil protection said on Saturday.
According to the authorities, the accident is believed to have occurred on Friday and search for the people is underway.
As per the eyewitnesses and videos on social media, the boat was carrying around 300 people , en route to attend funeral of village chief around 45 kilometers away from Bangui.

The boat was over capacitated as some passengers were standing, while others were perched on wooden structure.
The boat capsized shortly after setting off and the rescue service arrived 40 minutes after the sinking. Local boat pilots and fishermen were the first to react and rescued victims and collected bodies from the river before the emergency services arrived.

Some of those injured were evacuated by motorbike taxis.
“We were able to extract 58 lifeless bodies,” civil protection department head Thomas Djimasse told Radio Guira.
“We don’t know the total number of people who are underwater,” he added.
Government spokesperson Maxime Balalou has launched a probe into the incident and announced setting up a fund to support the families of the victims. He also called for a better compliance with river transport safety regulation.

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