Page last updated at 17:46 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 18:46 UK

Deadly capsize off Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone map

A boat with about 150 people on board has capsized off the coast of Sierra Leone, with dozens feared dead.

Fishermen have joined a naval rescue mission and so far 46 people have been saved, with eight confirmed dead.

The boat, believed to be a small vessel with an outboard motor meant for about 25 people, was hugely overcrowded.

It was travelling on a short sea route between Plantain Island and the coastal town of Shenge, about 65km (40 miles) south of the capital, Freetown.

The BBC's Lansana Fofana, in Freetown, says many of those who have been rescued are in a serious condition.

He says the route is highly dangerous as there is never any protective gear on board and the boats are often overcrowded.

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