8 die, 6 missing in Lagos boat mishap
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.
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