RUBAVU - Five people aboard a boat died and 37 survived with minor injuries when their vessel collided with another boat on Lake Kivu.
The accident happened when a boat belonging to Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) rammed into the private boat ferrying 43 passengers from Iwawa Island to Gisenyi mainland, on Wednesday evening.
The victims included parents returning from a graduation ceremony of their children at Iwawa Rehabilitation and Skills Development Centre. The RRA boat was also headed to the Island to pick more people.
“It was at about 8:30 pm as we approached the shore when an RRA boat that was being used by marine forces hit us from the sides leaving three people dead on the spot,” said Jean Baptist Nkurunziza, a survivor.
Nkurunziza, attributed the accident to lack of lights on the boat they were travelling in.
The five bodies were taken to Gisenyi Hospital mortuary pending burial arrangements. Some of the survivors with minor injuries are expected to be discharged from hospital today.
The body of Rafiki Hakuzimana, who drowned along with his parents, is still missing and the rescue team is searching.
“Ten minutes after the accident, the marine forces came to our rescue hence saving most of us,” added Nkurunziza.
Celestin Kabahizi, the Governor of the Western Province, disclosed that the government would meet the burial costs.
“Government through the Prime Ministers’ office is working on all the burial arrangements in consultation with the family members of the deceased,” said Kabahizi.