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At Least 81 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 81 people, aid workers said today.

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

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

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

At least 56 survivors were pulled from the sea. Rescue workers searched 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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