Tshikapa, DR Congo: Twenty bodies have been recovered from a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a ferry blaze, local officials said Saturday.
The boat, which was transporting dozens of passengers as well as goods, caught fire overnight Monday in Tshimbinda, a village near Tshikapa, the capital of the central province of Kasai.
A report by a naval force in charge of waterway security in the DRC said a member of the crew lit a cigarette just as his comrades were filling up the boat with fuel.
It said 17 bodies were found on Tuesday and another three on Friday along the Kasai river, a tributary of the Congo River.
Several other people suffered burns and a number remain missing, the report said, without giving the total number of people on board the boat at the time of the fire.
Lake and river transport is widely used in the vast country as the highway system is poor, but accidents are common, often caused by overloading and the unsafe state of vessels.