The death toll of the Lagos boat mishap has hit 6 while search efforts are still ongoing for the recovery of 11 passengers said to be currently missing in the tragic incident. This was even as the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA said that efforts have been intensified to search for the remaining missing passengers.
Although no one could ascertain the cause and the exact number of the passengers in ill-fated boat that was said to have occurred due to overloading and other mechanical and technical challenges in the middle of the sea, LASWA said that its investigation revealed that the incident was caused by poor visibility on the part of the captain and non wearing of life jackets by passengers.
Speaking on the tragic incident, General Manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr. Damilola Emmanuel confirmed that six dead bodies were recovered while 11 were still missing from a 20 capacity passengers’ boat mishap that occurred mid-sea at about 11 pm on Saturday.
He said that the incident occurred along Badore- Ijede route with only 3 survivors yet. Giving an account of his agency on the incident, Emmanuel, said that the agency at about 11:20pm received a distress call that a 20 capacity unmarked passengers boat with 60″Hp engine capsized after being hit by several waves enroute Egbin jetty in Ijede ikorodu from a landing jetty in Badore Ajah axis of Lagos
He said an on-the-spot investigation carried out by LASWA revealed that the incident was caused by poor visibility on the part of the captain and non wearing of life jackets by passengers He said: “Unfortunately six persons have been confirmed dead and their bodies have been handed to LASEMA. 3 survivors have been identified while search and rescue operations for the missing 11 persons are still ongoing.”
While expressing concern that boat operators were in the habit of flouting the order by the agency to desist from operating at night, the LASWA boss said rescue efforts is being carried out by the combined efforts of LASWA, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Lagos State Ambulance Services (LASAMBUS), Marine Unit of the Nigerian Police Force SEHMU and other relevant agencies. He also urged passengers to always ensure that they wear life jackets before embarking on any trip on the waterways and ensure they are worn properly to prevent loss of lives.
He said the State Government in conjunction with the Marine Police will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, adding that the operator of the boat would also be held accountable. On the search operation, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Lagos State Emergency management agency, LASEMA Dr. Oluwafem Oke-Osanyintolu said that search and rescue is still ongoing on the other missing persons yet to be found by his agency and officials of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and Marine Police with support from the local divers, while community leaders as well as local fishermen.
Osanyintolu said that the community leaders and other residents in the riveting areas have also been informed to avail the agency of any information through the emergency toll-free line 112/767 to enhance total recovery of the exercise. He advised anybody with any case of missing person to report to the Marine Police or any nearest police station around the scene of the incident.
Osanyintolu noted that despite the huge investment of the State Government to encourage water transportation and the need for Lagosian to explore water transportation as an alternative means mean of transportation to decongest our busy roads, is however important for all passengers and boat operators to imbibe safety culture, as well as to always comply with the rules and regulations of our regulatory bodies in charge of water transportation and safety in the State, while noting that proper investigation is on ongoing by the security operatives to assertion the real cause of the incident. News Express
Pix: Capsized boat