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At Least 129 Dead in Congo Boat Capsize

FILE - A NASA satellite file image shows Lake Tanganyika in East Africa.
FILE - A NASA satellite file image shows Lake Tanganyika in East Africa.

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo said at least 129 people are dead after a boat capsized on Lake Tanganyika in the country's southeast.

Laurent Kahozi Sumba, transport minister for Congo's Katanga province, announced the increased death toll on Sunday, saying a number of women and children were among the victims.

Sumba said there are 232 known survivors, mostly men.

The accident occurred Thursday night in the north of Katanga province, near the town of Kalemie.

The MV Mutambala was carrying passengers between Katanga and South Kivu province.

Winds, overloading may have been factors

Officials said strong winds and overloading might have been factors in the sinking. Sumba said an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident.

It is unclear how many people were on board at the time. Tanzanian authorities told Reuters the vessel had been carrying about 500 people.

In March, at least 210 Congolese refugees returning home from Uganda drowned when an overcrowded boat sank on Lake Albert, on the border between the two countries. It was the deadliest accident on the nation's waterways, the government said.

Lake Tanganyika, which is one of the world's largest freshwater lakes as well as being the longest, borders Congo, Tanzania, Burundi and Zambia.

Some material for this report came from Reuters, AFP and AP.