Boat sinks off Sierra Leone, 30 feared drowned

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 11, 2012 1:36 PM

FREETOWN (Reuters) - At least 30 people are feared drowned after a boat capsized off the coast of Sierra Leone in bad weather over the weekend, Sierra Leonean and Guinean authorities said on Wednesday.

The boat was carrying passengers and tons of merchandise between the neighboring capitals of Conakry in Guinea and Freetown in Sierra Leone.

Guinean government spokesman Durus Yale Dore said he had reports of 30 deaths.

Ibrahim Wurie, the head of Sierra Leone's maritime administration, told journalists about 50 people had died, though authorities had recovered only two corpses.

Authorities from both countries said they were not clear whether the accident happened on Saturday or Sunday and only heard about it on Wednesday.

Accidents on over-crowded and poorly maintained boats are relatively common in the region. More than 80 people were killed in Sierra Leone in 2009 when a boat carrying mostly school children returning from holiday capsized.

(Reporting by Christo Johnson; Additional reporting by Saliou Samb in Conakry; Writing by Joe Bavier and Bate Felix; Editing by Andrew Heavens)