20 Die in Congo River Port Boat Fire

Flames engulf a boat Sunday in the Tampa Bay area. Officials said one person died after the boat ferrying patrons to a casino ship caught fire near shore, forcing dozens of passengers and crew to jump overboard.

A vessel went up in flames at a port on the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least 20 persons, and injuring several others.

Didier Tenge, the Interior Minister, told a local radio station that the incident occurred at 1pm on Sunday at the Ngafura Port, on the outskirts of Kinshasa.

According to Papy Epiana, a member of the local provincial parliament, the vessel was filled with flammable materials and was traveling upstream to Équateur province.

Tenfe added that passengers are not allowed to board cargo ships in the country.

The injured are currently being treated for third-degree burns at a neighboring hospital.

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Owing to the deplorable road network in the Democratic Republic of Congo, many people rely on boats to travel vast distances.

Passengers must wait days, if not weeks, to board a vessel that will take them down the Congo River and its tributaries.

Locals say overcrowding is a common cause of fatal boat accidents in Congo. Recently, an overcrowded boat sank in the Congo River in the northern Mongala province, killing at least 55 persons.

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