Dieu Merci Congo Ferry Collision Mai-Indombe Congo Ferry – On November 25, 2003,The Congo Ferry Dieu Merci one of many Congo Ferries Collided another Ferry, the Dieu Merci carrying 290 passengers sank. Congolese ferries are notorious for overcrowding and poor maintenance, supported here by the transport ministry who said one of the ferries engines was not working.
The Dieu Merci’s owner, Ntomba Nzondo, said already 120 bodies had been found buried and he thanked God only the one double-hulled ferry sank.
Later a DR Congo minister said that 163 bodies were recovered from Lake Mayi Ndombe, about 400 kilometres (248 miles) north-east of the capital.
”I survived by hanging onto an empty five-liter jerry can,” said Deogracias Lulengwa, 32, who lost his wife in the wreck.
A helicopter searched for more survivors from the ferry, which was laden with goods like fish, corn and cocoa and sank about 12 miles outside Inongo, roughly 250 miles northeast of the capital, Kinshasa.
Inongo is a town and capital of Mai-Ndombe District, Mai-Ndombe Province in the western part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As of 2009 it had an estimated population of 45,159
Didier Bontange, a doctor with the French aid agency Medicines Sans Frontieres who was in the area when the disaster occurred, co-ordinated the relief effort, helped by students from a local medical school.
A United Nations helicopter was sent in attempt to help, but humanitarian personnel on board said they only saw floating wreckage and bundles of traders’ goods.
Lake Mayi Ndombe is 2,300km sq lake that doubles or triples in size during the rainy season, which had just started.