Police in Nchelenge district in Zambia’s Luapula province have retrieved more bodies from a river where more than 20 people from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) drowned in an accident on Sunday, the Times of Zambia reported on Thursday.
More than 20 people died on Sunday evening after their three boats capsized on the Zambian side of the river after they were hit by waves from a speed boat that was coming from the DRC side of the river.
Twenty players from DR Congo club AC Virgin KA drowned in Luapula River in Zambia on their way from a weekend fixture.
Luapula Province Deputy Commissioner of Police said the police have retrieved three more bodies bringing the total number of bodies retrieved since the operation started to 15.
He said the Congolese players and their fans were returning from a match against a Zambian team on Sunday when their three boats capsized in the town’s most popular river.
“Their boats capsized in the middle of Luapula River after being hit by a strong wave generated by another passing boat,” Mushanga said.
“The ill-fated boats carried a total of over 100 people, but 80 of them were rescued by the crew while at least 20 perished,” he added.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police said 14 bodies had been identified to be Congolese while one was a Zambian and that police discovered that the boats were also carrying five Zambians.
As at Tuesday, locals were working to pull out the remains of the boats while municipal police identified other bodies. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has sent condolences to the Congo football federation. “On behalf of FIFA and on my own behalf, I extend to you and to the Congo football federation my deepest condolences,” Blatter wrote in a message to Constant Omari Selemani, president of the FECOFA.
The boats, carrying more than 100 people, carried footballers and spectators who had come for a football match on the Zambian side when the incident happened. About 72 people survived the accident and DRC officials sent a bigger boat to carrying the survivors back to their country.