September 2, 2015 / 9:40 PM / 3 years ago

Mali river boat accident kills at least 18

BAMAKO (Reuters) - At least 18 people died when a pirogue carrying passengers on the River Niger in central Mali capsized on Wednesday, said a spokesman for the country’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

There were four missing and 70 survivors from the accident that took place around 5 a.m. (1 a.m. EDT) in the rural community of Deboye in Mopti region’s Bangou locality, spokesman Sounkolo Togola told Reuters.

A security source said overcrowding was a likely cause. Boats on Africa’s lakes and rivers are often stacked with people and trade goods, and poor maintenance and overcrowding are a frequent cause of accidents.

Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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