No lesser than 16 passengers have gone missing after the boat they boarded from Mile 2 en route Ibeshe in Ojo area of Lagos State reportedly capsized. The incident allegedly occurred on Friday night.
The Area Manager of the National Inland Waterways Authority -NIWA, Engr. Sarat Braimah, who confirmed the unfortunate incident in a statement, reported that the boat had been recovered, but that a search-and-rescue for the victims was ongoing. According to her, the occupants flouted safety rules by not wearing reflective jackets before boarding the boat.
The statement read, “At about 7.45 p.m. today (yesterday), July 8, the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, and Lagos State waterways authority received a distress call of an incident on the waterways. A W19 passenger fiber boat carrying 16 people capsized along the Ojo area of the state. The boat, going from Mile 2 to Ibeshe in Ojo axis, broke the waterways rules of late traveling by setting sail at 7.45 pm. As it set out, the tide drifted the boat to a stationary barge which caused the boat to overturn. It was reported that all the passengers on board, including children, were not wearing their life jackets.”
“The Search and Rescue team of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), National Inland Waterways (NIWA), and Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) were immediately mobilized to the scene of the incident. Unfortunately, they could only find the boat after several hours, while efforts are still ongoing to locate the victims.”
“The boat is currently in the custody of Marine Police. The Boat Captain is also unaccounted for as at the time of this press release,” the engineer concluded.
The search-and-rescue operation is still ongoing as of the time of this news report.