The vessel sank near Minova in the Kalehe territory, 45 kilometres from Bukavu, which is the capital of Sud Kivu province. There were about 40 passengers and a variety of goods on board according to Jerome Moke, the chairman of the association of ship owners of Lake Kivu. He said that the boat itself had not yet been found.
The accident took place at around 1700 GMT and was apparently caused by bad weather.
Lake Kivu forms a 90 kilometre border between DRC and Rwanda. Shipping accidents are frequent as boats are often overcrowded and lack the appropriate signals, while there are few signposts on the waterways.