8 die, 6 miss­ing in La­gos boat mishap

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Eu­gene Agha, La­gos

Eight per­sons have been con­firmed dead while six oth­ers are still miss­ing fol­low­ing a boat mishap. The in­ci­dent oc­curred when a pas­sen­ger boat that was trav­el­ling from Ebute Ero to Iko­rodu cap­sized on Wed­nes­day in an area not too far from Ma­jidun.

It was gath­ered that the boat which is op­er­ated by Bell Ma­rine Ser­vices sank at about 6 pm on Wed­nes­day, but that noth­ing was heard about it till around 8pm of the same day.

The eight per­sons who died in­clude a lady whose wed­ding was sched­uled to take place next week, Daily Trust gath­ered.

There are con­flict­ing ac­counts on the ac­tual num­ber of people on board when the boat cap­sized. Some al­leged that the boat which has a ca­pac­ity for 15 pas­sen­gers was con­vey­ing about 25, while oth­ers put the fig­ure at about 28.

The boat was said to have taken off from Ebute Ero part of La­gos Is­land and was head­ing to­wards the Ma­jidun wa­ter­front.

Spokesper­son of NEMA South­west of­fice, Ibrahim Farin­loye, said the ini­tial re­port he got was that about 28 per­sons were on board the boat when it cap­sized.

“The un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent oc­curred around 6pm but the in­for­ma­tion reached res­cuers around 8pm. The reg­is­tered name of the op­er­a­tor of the boat is Bell Ma­rine Ser­vice. It took off from Ebute Ero to Ma­jidun. Eight people died, 12 are alive while six are still miss­ing,” he said. He added that the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Bell Ma­rine, Mr. Ben Kale­jaye, al­leged that only 22 people were on board, dis­miss­ing claims that six per­sons were still miss­ing.

Farin­loye urged res­cue work­ers to dis­miss the claim of the boat ser­vice com­pany owner, say­ing the car of one of the miss­ing per­sons is parked at Bell Ma­rine Ser­vice of­fice.

“With this an­gle to the in­ci­dent, we will con­tinue the search for the re­cov­ery of other bod­ies,” he added.

Ef­forts to speak to owner of the com­pany, Ben Kale­jayi, proved abortive as he did not re­spond to calls put through to him.

One of the sur­vivors, who iden­ti­fied her­self as Mrs. Abim­bola Bunmi, al­leged that those in the boat were more than 22 as claimed by the man­age­ment of Bell Ma­rine. She fur­ther al­leged that she lost N200,000 in the in­ci­dent.

La­gos State Po­lice Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Ngozi Braide, said those that were res­cued alive are be­ing treated at an undis­closed hospi­tal.

Also speak­ing, PRO of the La­gos State Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (LASEMA), Ke­hinde Ade­bayo, told Daily Trust on phone that ef­forts are still on to find the six miss­ing per­sons. He ad­vised people who travel by wa­ter to al­ways in­sist on life jack­ets.

PHOTO

Boats be­long­ing to pri­vate oper­a­tors at Ma­jidun Jetty in Iko­rodu, ly­ing idle yes­ter­day af­ter the own­ers sus­pended ferry ser­vices to mourn vic­tims of Wed­nes­day’s boat mishap on the La­gos la­goon. NAN

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