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At Least 84 Drown When Boat Sinks off Sierra Leone

May 6, 1996

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) _ An overloaded passenger boat sank off the coast of Sierra Leone, drowning at least 84 people, aid workers said Monday.

Bodies washed ashore after the Confidence went down in rough seas off the coast of West Africa on Sunday night, carrying merchants on its weekly trip from the capital of Freetown to neighboring Guinea.

The boat was not carrying Liberian refugees, many of whom have fled the fighting in their nearby homeland by sea.

Red Cross worker Habib Kamara said the boat sank with about 210 people aboard as it tried to pull back into the dock.

At least 56 people were pulled from the sea. Rescue workers searched Monday for other survivors.

Survivors told Red Cross workers that the boat was overloaded with commercial goods and that they had pleaded with the captain to turn back.

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