Simon Mboo Wemba, the mayor of Inongo, told The Associated Press on Sunday night that many of those aboard the boat that sank on Lake Mai-Ndombe were teachers.
The mayor says they had traveled to collect their salaries by boat because roads in the region are so poor.
It was not immediately known how many people were aboard the boat when it hit bad weather late Saturday.
But officials estimate several hundred were on board. More than 80 people survived.
Boats in the vast nation of Congo are usually overloaded with passengers and cargo, and official manifests don't include all those aboard.
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