News

January 10, 2024

11 die in Rivers boat mishap

Boat carrying 100 passengers capsizes in Niger

File image for illustration

No fewer than 11 persons including kids, were reported dead in a boat mishap along the Andoni-Bonny coastal waters in Rivers State on Tuesday.

The accident was said to have involved two passenger boats that plied the routes.

Some of the victims were said to be from Ngo town, Ataba, and Isiama communities in the Andoni Local Government Area of the state.

Confirming the incident, the chairman of a group, ‘Obolo Youths Coalition’, Bonny LGA chapter, Gogo Obolo, said in a telephone chat that the passengers were returning from Ngo town in Andoni LGA to Bonny Island when the unfortunate accident occurred.

Obolo said that none of the affected victims have been discovered. He urged the Chairman of Andoni local government council, Chief Erastus Awortu, and his counterpart in Bonny LGA to expedite action to recover the bodies of the victims and extend a hand of support to their families.

“The Andoni people residing in Bonny local government area received the shocking news of our brothers and sisters being involved in a boat accident while returning from the Christmas celebrations.

“While we pray that the rescue effort yields more success to reduce the pain of the accident, we employ the Andoni local government chairman, Barr Erastus Awortu, and his counterpart in Bonny LGA, Dame Anengi Barasua, to visit the families of the victims in this trying period.”

Awortu, who also confirmed the boat mishap, said he immediately dispatched a rescue team upon receiving a distress call, which led to the rescue of some persons.

Awortun, in a statement he signed and obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday morning, commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives in the unfortunate accident and promised to take over the medical bills of those rescued.

He, however, warned people and residents of Andoni to stop embarking on night journeys on sea and asked boat operators to always comply strictly with safety rules.

“We received with rude shock and deep pain a disturbing report that over 20 persons from Andoni are feared dead in a boat mishap involving two Andoni/Bonny-bound boats that occurred within the Andoni waterways on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.

“Upon receiving the sad development, we immediately dispatched our team to join the first responders on a rescue mission at the scene of the incident in a bid to salvage the situation.

“We are closely monitoring the situation to offer further support, especially to give the survivors necessary medical attention and recover the remains of the dead from the sea.

“Our hearts go out to the families and communities of victims of this unfortunate disaster, especially Ngo Town, Ataba, Isiama, and other communities whose loved ones were involved in the boat mishap.

“We share in their pain and trauma; our prayers and thoughts are with them in this moment of grief.

“We will do whatever we can as a local government to reduce the burden of grief for the bereaved families and communities.

“While we bemoan the boat mishap, which came at a time when our people were still basking in the mood of a successful festive season in Andoni, we call on operators of water transportation in Andoni to ensure strict compliance of all passengers with safety rules.

“We also warn the operators to desist from embarking on night journeys by sea.”

Vanguard News