Emergency Response Team evacuating dead bodies.
Tragedy struck in Ijede area of Ikorodu in Lagos on Saturday as a passenger boat capsized,leaving eight of its occupants dead and about eight others missing.
The 20-passenger capacity boat was reportedly conveying 17 passengers from Ijede en route Badore when it capsized at about 10 am.
General Manager, LASEMA, Michael Akindele who joined rescue team said preliminary investigation revealed that the boat belonging to Aki Marine had 17 passengers and two crew members on board, and was alleged to have collided at a dredging point en route Ijede.
Akindele said seven passengers were confirmed dead, while 4 male others were rescued and were receiving treatment at Ijede General Hospital.
He said rescue operation is still on by Lagos State Water Ways Authority, Lagos State Fire Service, Local divers ,Lagos State Emergency Response Team, National Inland Water Ways Authority and the Marine Police to recover the remaining eight passengers still missing.
“The agency is still expecting the boat manifest. The rescue operation is ongoing while further investigation would be carried out by the appropriate agencies to ascertain the actual cause of the accident,” he said.
Meanwhile, the LASEMA boss has stressed the need for boat operators and passengers to observe necessary safety measures such as the use of life jacket and regular checks of boat facilities before embarking on water transportation.
During the last administration, a committee set up to look into a boat mishap in Ikorodu had indicted government officials, especially the Lagos State Waterways Agency, LASWA, for not doing enough to salvage the situation.
Only last week, a boat capsized in Ikorodu, killing one on board, an incident which the General Manager, LASWA, Mrs. Abisola Kamson said was caused by early morning fog that led to poor visibility for the captains of the two boats.
She pointed out that the enforcement of lifejackets on waterways reduced the number of casualties as all passengers on board were wearing their life jackets.
According to her, immediately the incident was reported, LASWA deployed its water guards to monitor and oversight the situation adding that the Marine Police have also been notified and are currently carrying out an investigation.