’Youngest and brightest’ lost in Pacific ferry disaster

This undated handout photo released by Maritime New Zealand and received on January 31, 2018 shows boys jumping off the deck of the ferry MV Butiraoi, a 17.5-metre (57.4-foot) wooden catamaran, at an unknown location. (AFP)
Updated 01 February 2018

’Youngest and brightest’ lost in Pacific ferry disaster

WELLINGTON: Many children and teenagers are among those missing after a ferry sank in the remote Pacific, official figures have revealed, with victims described as their region’s “youngest and brightest.”
Radio Kiribati reported late Wednesday that a council survey of Nonouti island, where the ferry departed on January 18, showed there were 88 people aboard.
It said they included 10 children of primary age and 13 high school students.
The youngsters are believed to have been traveling to the Kiribati capital South Tarawa for the start of a new school term.
Only seven people, including a 14-year-old girl, have been found alive so far and hopes are fading of locating any more.
Four aircraft, from the United States, Australia and New Zealand, are combing vast swathes of ocean looking for survivors, along with six boats.
Kiribati President Taneti Maamau told public radio Wednesday that the sinking was a “tragic moment” for the tiny island nation but the search for survivors would continue.
“There are objects that have been spotted like wooden pieces and a gas cylinder and a few other things, but sadly there are still no signs of people spotted yet,” he said.
Former president Anote Tong said Nonouti had lost its “youngest and brightest” and the whole of Kiribati was in shock.
“This is by far the biggest disaster in terms of numbers and also in terms of the people involved,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Tong said there were questions about why it took authorities more than a week to raise the alarm after the ferry, MV Butiraoi, set off on a passage that was only supposed to last two days.
The seven survivors were found drifting in a dinghy on Sunday and the search is now concentrating on finding a life raft that was launched from the sinking ferry.


36 people missing after boat sinks in Congo river: DRC police

Updated 15 September 2019

36 people missing after boat sinks in Congo river: DRC police

  • Seventy-six people survived after the vessel went down overnight on the outskirts of the capital

KINSHASA, Congo: Thirty-six people are missing after a boat sank in the Congo river on the outskirts of Kinshasa, DR Congo police said on Sunday.

The vessel, which was travelling to the capital, went down overnight in Maluku commune, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the centre of the city. Seventy-six people survived, police wrote on Twitter.

"The cause of the accident is not yet known," police spokesperson Colonel Pierrot-Rombaut Mwanamputu told AFP. Lake and river transport is widely used in Democratic Republic of Congo as the highway system is poor, but accidents are common, often caused by overloading and the unsafe state of vessels.

The boat involved was called a "baleiniere" or "whaler" - a commonly-used flat-bottomed vessel between 15 to 30 metres (50 to 100 feet) long by two to six metres wide.

In the vast majority of accidents, passengers are not equipped with life jackets and many cannot swim.