Tuesday, August 01, 2006

At least 25 drown as boat capsizes FREETOWN (Reuters) - At least 25 people drowned after their boat capsized in heavy rain at the mouth of a river in Sierra Leone, the head of a boat owners' association in the West African country said on Monday. "A wooden boat with about 50 passengers ... that left neighboring Guinea for Sierra Leone on Saturday capsized along the Great Scarcies river when a wave struck it during a heavy downpour," Osman Kamara said. Fisherman and police officials rescued six passengers but recovered 25 bodies. The other passengers were feared drowned although a search was still underway, Kamara said. Many of the vessels plying trade and passenger routes on inland waterways and off Africa's shores are poorly maintained, with accurate passenger manifests a rarity. About 120 people drowned after a boat packed with passengers and good capsized on Ghana's Lake Volta in April, a week after an overloaded vessel carrying three times the number of people it was built to take sank off Djibouti killing more than 100.