Eight dead after passenger boat capsizes in southern Nigeria
Authorities in Nigeria have reported the deaths of eight people as a result of a boat capsizing incident that occurred in Cross River State in the country’s south on Saturday, June 24.
The eight deceased victims and eleven others were passengers on a small boat that had departed Calabar’s Marina Resort with a final destination of Oron, a city in the neighbouring state of Akwa Ibom, at around 15:00 local time on Saturday.
The boat capsized shortly after departing the resort. Search and rescue (SAR) operations commenced immediately afterwards.
Eleven survivors and the bodies of five deceased victims were pulled from the water within hours of the incident. Three other individuals who were initially reported as missing were later found deceased to raise the death toll to eight, a local police official confirmed on Monday, June 26.
Jibril Darda’u, general manager of corporate affairs for the country’s National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), said the boat capsized due to a combination of factors. These include bad weather, an engine malfunction, and overloading, as it is cleared to transport a maximum of only nine passengers.
The operator has been placed under arrest since the vessel itself is not duly registered with NIWA, Mr Darda’u added.
Cross River State governor Bassey Otu has meanwhile ordered the suspension of speedboat operations in the waters off Marina Resort as an investigation into the tragedy is being conducted.