Sky News:-  At least 23 people, the majority of whom are children, have died after a boat sank in the River Nile in Sudan.

The boat was carrying more than 40 pupils on their way to school in the north of the country, before suffering a technical failure, according to Sudan’s state news agency.

At least 22 students and a woman were killed in the country’s northern River Nile state, with civil defence forces searching waters for the missing, but are yet to recover any bodies.

A female hospital employee was among those drowned some 470 miles north of Sudan’s capital Khartoum.

“The accident was caused by engine failure halfway across because of a strong current,” said the SUNA news agency.

It also reported the small boat was overloaded with about 30 sacks of sweet potatoes and 10 bags of grain, in addition to the human cargo.

One witness said at least nine children survived the tragedy.

The River Nile state is one of 18 wilayat (states) of Sudan, with an estimated population of more than one million, where locals rely on wooden boats to cross the waterway.

Sudan experiences monsoon rains between June and November, which cause the River Nile and its tributaries to overflow.

United Nations aid agencies regularly warn of floods during this period.

Khartoum sits where the White Nile, which flows north from Lake Victoria, meets the Blue Nile, which flows west from Ethiopia.

Classes have been suspended in the capital until August 25 due to heavy rains in Khartoum flooding streets and amid power outages.

At nearly 6,700km (4,160 miles) in length, the River Nile is argued by many to be the world’s longest river.

It is an important transport route for goods and people in much of northeastern Africa.