Authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo's Tshopo province say bodies of six people have been found and 19 others are still missing in last week's accident on Congo River.

Relatively few people in the DRC, a country the size of western continental Europe, learn how to swim.
Relatively few people in the DRC, a country the size of western continental Europe, learn how to swim. (AFP Archive)

Up to 25 people are feared to have died when a barge sank on the Congo River, authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) northeastern province of Tshopo said.

"A barge which was leaving Kisangani for Basoko sank on Friday evening. The toll today is six bodies which have been recovered, 237 survivors and 19 missing," Tshopo's vice governor, Maurice Abibu Sakapela, told AFP news agency on Tuesday. 

"The public prosecutor has opened an inquiry. Some people have already been arrested," he said, blaming "overloading and the poor state of the vessel" for the accident.

READ MORE: Scores feared dead as boat capsizes in eastern DRC

Rivers and waterways are widely used for travel in DRC in the absence of paved roads and railways.

But many vessels are old or poorly maintained and skippers may turn a blind eye to rules on lading and safety, despite requirements passed in April 2019 for all passengers to wear life jackets.

In addition, relatively few people in the DRC, a country the size of western continental Europe, learn how to swim.

READ MORE: 30 dead, dozens missing in DR Congo boat accident - mayor

Source: AFP