A boat carrying hundreds of passengers along the Niger River in central Mali capsized, and nearly 200 people remained unaccounted for hours later, the mayor of a nearby town said Saturday.
Twenty bodies had been recovered by midday, said the mayor of the town, Konna. At least 400 passengers were believed to have been on board the vessel on Friday as it traveled north to Timbuktu, but only 210 survivors had been counted so far, said the mayor, Sory Diakite.
One passenger, Ibrahim Yattara, 29, said he and his pregnant wife were sleeping on the boat late Friday when they awoke to a loud noise.
“It was then that the ship collapsed because it was overloaded with cargo,” Mr. Yattara said. “With the excess weight, it broke into two pieces. I started to swim and looked for my wife, but after a while the boat was completely underwater.”