updated 10/12/2004 7:52:34 AM ET 2004-10-12T11:52:34

Officials said Tuesday that two boat accidents in eastern Congo killed 68 people as rescue workers found more bodies in the choppy waters of Lake Kivu.

Two large, overloaded wooden canoes capsized in windy weather on the lake on Sunday, said Pascal Bamporiki, a hospital official in the small town of Kalehe.

Authorities initially reported just one canoe had overturned on the lake, killing at least 23 people.

On Tuesday, 18 more bodies were found in Lake Kivu, bringing the death toll from the first accident near Kalehe to 41.

A second canoe overturned in the nearby village of Bushushu, killing at least 27 other people, Bamporiki said.

“The number of deaths will surely rise,” he said, adding that 180 adults and an unknown number of children were believed to be on the two boats.

At least 45 people are known to have survived the accidents, Bamporiki said.

U.N. officials in the region and the deputy governor of South Kivu province, Didace Kaningini, estimated that at least 50 people were missing.

Both boats were headed to Goma, capital of neighboring North Kivu province. Goma is located on the northern shores of Lake Kivu, on the border with Rwanda.

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