LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) _ A large dugout canoe capsized on the Niger River, drowning at least 30 passengers, officials said Monday.

The canoe was carrying more than 50 people, including survivors pulled from the water, said Sani Isgogo, a Ministry of Water Resources official.

Dugout canoes are a major means of transport in communities along the river, and accidents are common.

The boat capsized while crossing a reservoir near Besse, a small farming and fishing town in northwest Kebbi state, the official said.

The accident occurred last Thursday, but news of it was slow to reach the southern commercial capital, Lagos, from the far-flung region.

The Niger River runs through Niger, Guinea and Mali before entering northwestern Nigeria. It empties into the Gulf of Guinea.