Four passengers are dead while four others are missing in a boat mishap on Friday night in Ikorodu, Lagos State.
The General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority, Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, confirmed that the accident happened at Owode/Ibeshe near Ikorodu at about 8pm on Friday.
Emmanuel said the boat, marked: Lalek Marine, carrying 20 passengers, was heading to Ikorodu from Ebute-Ero when it capsized.
He said that 11 passengers were rescued, while one person was critically injured.
He said: “On Friday night, a-20 capacity passenger boat with the name ‘Lalek Marine’ was suspected to have left Ebute Ero Jetty around 8pm (after the approved sailing time of 6pm) and didn’t arrive at its destination which was Ikorodu Terminal.
“The boat capsized at Owode Ibeshe, not too far away from Ikorodu.
“As at this time, 20 passengers were presumed on board.
“LASWA search party, local boat operators, Marine Police and the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA) convened search and so far eleven passengers were rescued alive with one person in critical condition.
“We have four fatalities while four still missing.
“Search and rescue is still ongoing.”
Emmanuel said the captain of the ferry was still missing and being searched for.
According to him, both the boat operator and the passengers broke the law against night travel on waterways.
He said the boat, which took off illegally from Ebute Ero jetty, heading towards Ikorodu, ran into an unforeseen object on the waterways, which resulted in the mishap.
Emmanuel said during this COVID-19 pandemic, “the last boat is expected to leave the jetty at 6pm.
“Normally, boats are supposed to operate between 6:30am to 7pm according to rules but during this COVID-19, operations should be between 6:30am and 6:30pm.”
Emmanuel said the Lagos State Government, through the authority, had repeatedly stated that night travel on the Lagos Inland waterways was strictly forbidden.
NAN recalls that on June 23, 2020, a local boat with four adult males on a boating expedition capsized due to water turbulence.
Three of the passengers were rescued alive while one was missing.
Earlier on June 18, 2020, LASWA had celebrated zero records of boat mishap in the last six months in the state waterways.