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At Least 20 Dead After a Ferry Sinks in Central African Republic, Witnesses Say

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BANGUI, Central African Republic—At least 20 people have drowned in Central African Republic after a ferry sank while carrying passengers on a river, witnesses said Saturday.

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

One fisherman who involved in the rescue, Adrien Mossamo, said that at least 20 bodies were found while waiting for the military to arrive.

“It’s a horrible day,” he said.

The death toll is rising as the military takes over the search, officials at Bangui University Hospital Center said. The exact number of deaths is currently unknown and the government didn’t comment.

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

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