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Lagos Boat Mishap: death toll rises

Hours after recovering three dead bodies from the Lagos lagoon, local fishermen in Ijede, have recovered six additional bodies, bringing the death toll to eight.

The commercial boat in which they were traveling from Badore in Ajah to Egbin jetty, in Ijede, Ikorodu, capsized few minutes after it left the jetty due to overloading and heavy currents on Saturday night.

Three people were immediately rescued with varying degrees of injuries, while the bodies of three people recovered earlier were released to their families.

It was learned that the jetty from which the boat took off was operated illegally and under the cover of darkness. The passengers, it was discovered, were not wearing life jackets.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr. Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, while confirming the additional figure, said search and rescue operation would continue till all the bodies were recovered.

He disclosed that the bodies were recovered through joint efforts of emergency responders. He noted that officials of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Marine Police, local divers, community leaders as well as local fishermen had been informed to avail LASEMA of any information through the emergency toll-free line – 112/767- to enhance total recovery exercise.

He also urged people with any case of a missing person to report to the Marine Police or any nearest police station around the scene of the incident.

Osanyintolu reiterated the need for passengers and boat operators to desist from night travel and ensure that all safety measures, including proper use of life jackets, are strictly adhered to, to prevent unnecessary loss of life on waterways.

He also highlighted the need for Lagosians to explore water transportation as an alternative means of transportation, noting that the state government had made a huge investment in the sector.

“It is important for all passengers and boat operators to imbibe safety culture and also comply with the rules and regulations of the regulatory bodies in charge of water transportation and safety in the state. Proper investigation is on ongoing by the security operatives to ascertain the real cause of the incident,” he said.

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