At least 20 people drowned after a ferry carrying passengers capsized in a river in the Central African Republic, witnesses said Saturday.

The wooden boat was carrying more than 300 people to a funeral on the Mapoko River in the capital Bangui on Friday when it began to collapse, witnesses told The Associated Press on Saturday. Local boat pilots and fishermen were the first to respond and rescued the victims and collected bodies from the river before emergency services arrived.

Adrian Mosamo, a fisherman involved in the rescue operation, said at least 20 bodies were found while waiting for the army to arrive.

“It is a terrible day,” he said.

Officials at Bangui University Hospital Center said the death toll was rising as the military took over the search. The exact number of deaths is currently unknown and the government has not commented.

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

(Only the headline and image in this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

first published: 20 April 2024 | 11:36 pm First

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