Suriname – The search was continuing Friday for survivors after a boat sank on the Coppename River leaving as many as 11 people dead and several others missing.
The bodies of seven people, including four children have already been found amid fears that the death toll could rise with several others, including a mother and two children still missing.
In a brief statement, the government expressed “condolences to the entire community” and said that it is “devastated by the incident”.
The National Information Service (NIS) said that Corps Police Suriname, the district council, medical relief services and local residents are “doing their utmost” to assist in the search and rescue operations.
Local villagers said at least 20 persons have so far been rescued and that the tragedy has cast a bleak cloud of mourning over Suriname’s usual end-of-the-year festivities
Not much details have emerged as to what caused the incident during the early hours of Friday morning , but media reports are that the vessel left the village of Cornelis Kondre, located in the Sipaliwini district, heading towards toward Boskamp in District Saramacca around midnight, carrying at least 30 people, several of them children.
The boat sank near the village of Kalebas Creek, about halfway to its destination. Boskamp is a popular transhipment point from where passengers can catch the bus to either Paramaribo in the east or Nickerie in the west, both bustling with year-end activities.
The reports say that the boat’s departure time may have been unfortunate; it was pitch dark in the area and a strong wind had been torturing the river.