Conakry - About 30 people were believed to have drowned after a boat capsized off the coast of Guinea, as rescue workers said on Saturday they had given up hope of finding survivors after an all-night search.

“We are continuing the search without hope of finding survivors, that means about 30 are already dead,” rescue official Lanfia Camara told AFP.

“It is difficult and even unthinkable that we could find a survivor in the water after more than 15 hours without rescue. None of the passengers were wearing a life vest when they boarded.”

The pirogue, a flat-bottomed boat used by fishermen and for transport, capsized a few minutes after setting off for Kassa Island which lies several kilometres from the capital Conakry on Friday.

A paramilitary police officer had told AFP that a total of 58 people were on the boat, which had the capacity to carry about 20 people.

Doctor Mohamed Awada, director-general of a Conakry hospital, confirmed eight bodies had been found and 27 people saved.

“The eight dead drowned and the 27 survivors are suffering more or less from trauma and fear. They were retrieved by fishermen and security forces.” - Sapa-AFP