'Fifty killed' in Central African Republic boat capsize

About 50 people on their way to a village funeral have died after their riverboat capsized in the Central African Republic's capital Bangui, an official says.

"We were alerted 40 minutes after the incident and rescuers were able to extract around 50 lifeless bodies," civil protection department head Thomas Djimasse told Reuters.

He added, in a telephone interview, that the search was continuing with more people possibly drowned in the Mpoko River.

Government spokesman Maxime Balalou gave a death toll of more than 30 and called for better compliance with river transport safety regulations.