Female corps member, pregnant woman and four others die as boat capsizes in Bayelsa (video)
Chief Lucky Daniels
Six people have been confirmed dead after a passenger boat capsized between Otuan and Ayama communities of Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State on Saturday, June 18.
Among the victims were a female NYSC member, a pregnant woman, a mother with her two kids and a 70-year-old man, Chief Lucky Daniels, said to be the father of a Bayelsa journalist, Mr Domo Timi.
Corpses of some of the victims are still missing at the time of this report with rescue and search efforts ongoing.
The Bayelsa State Chairman of the Maritime Workers Union, Comrade Ipigansi Ogoniba, who confirmed the incident said the 75 Horse Power engine boat was en route to Ayama Ijaw from Otuan Community when it capsized around 4pm on Saturday.
Comrade Ogoniba noted he was briefed that the mishap was caused by stormy weather.
He, however, blamed the deaths resulting from mishap on the non-usage of the recommended safety life jacket by the passengers in the boats.
According to him, it was a fault on the part of the driver of the boat, who was expected to ensure that every passenger entering the boat was provided with a life jacket before embarking on the journey.
Ogoniba, therefore, warned that henceforth any boat driver who flaunt the union’s authority of “no life jacket for passengers, no movement” would be arrested by the police and dealt with accordingly.
On the identity of the corps member involved in the boat disaster, Comrade Ogoniba said the authorities of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) have been contacted through the Community Liaison Officer (CLO).
“They are still searching for her corpse and we have reached out to the NYSC for her identity.” he added.
The elected Chairman of the Maritime Union in Otuan Community, Joseph Shedrack, said that the boat driver, Lucky Christopher, who survived the accident, has been detained by the Police Unit in Ayama over alleged reckless driving.
“I was chairman of the Union but some persons who claimed to know more than themselves have been taking charge of the Otuan Unit. If I had been around, i would not have allowed the loading of the boat due to poor visibility and bad weather,” he said.
He said preliminary investigations showed that the weather was bad and rain storm started but “those claiming to be acting allowed such trip”
Spokesman of the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Buatswat, confirmed the incident but said he is yet to be properly briefed on the number of casualties and what led to the accident.
When contacted, the State Public Relations Officer of the NYSC, Mathew Ngobua, said;
“We got the information and the State Coordinator and other staff left the Orientation and went to the place. The State Coordinator told me that the corps member’s name is said to be on the passenger manifest and the said corps member is not at the lodge
“However, we will make a detailed report after the search and rescue or when the body is recovered. The NYSC will make an official brief when the body is sighted and properly identified.”
Written by admin