Twenty-five people survived the accident that took place on Monday afternoon on the Sassandra river near the town of Guessabo, Florentine Banto told AFP yesterday.
The river is one of the main water routes in the country. The small motorboat, carrying 40 people and several bags of coffee, was "just too full", according to Elvis Achi, the police officer in charge of the area. Ivorian daily Inter reported that the victims were mainly fish sellers from the mountainous region of Guemon.
Guemon, near the border with Liberia, was one of the areas most affected by the post-election violence that rocked the country in 2010-2011 and cost more than 3,000 lives.