Lake boat accident claims at least 26 lives

Details are emerging from the Tanzanian side of Lake Tanganyika of another major lake boat accident in the waters of the Congo DR on Friday last week.

Lake boat accident claims at least 26 lives

Details are emerging from the Tanzanian side of Lake Tanganyika of another major lake boat accident in the waters of the Congo DR on Friday last week.

From the patchy information received, it is known that at least 26 passengers have lost their lives with over 200 rescued alive by other boats which were in the vicinity or rushed to the scene.

The boat appears to have been overloaded with both cargo and passengers, often causing capsizing when the winds build up or when trying to navigate rough waters and high waves. The boat reportedly came from a landing side in Katanga province and was enroute to South Kivu at the upper end of Lake Tanganyika.

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The lake, which is also shared with Burundi and Zambia, is arguably the longest lake in the world, and water transport is often the only mode of transport for local people due to a poor road network. Where roads exist they are more often than not in a terrible state of repair, and air transport is too expensive for most people to afford, especially when traveling with cargo.

Similar disasters have in the past struck on Lake Albert and on Lake Victoria, where poor skills of the boatmen especially in bad weather, almost habitual overloading of the boats to maximize profits, and the lack of life vests for the passengers on board were the main causes for accidents.

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