Over 100 people are reportedly missing after an overloaded boat ferrying about 160 passengers sank in the Niger River, northwest Nigeria, 9News Nigeria has learnt.
The administrative head of Ngaski district, Abdullahi Buhari Wara said that the boat left central Niger state and was heading to northwest Kebbi state when it split and sank on Wednesday.
The administrative head said that rescue operation was underway but only 22 survivors and one dead body have been recovered. “We are talking of around 140 passengers still missing,” Wara said.
A local official who said his brother was among those missing blamed the incident on the overload of the boat. “My brother is among those missing.” He also said that “This is the worst boat accident that has happened in this water.”
He said the boat was not meant to ferry more than 80 passengers, but this one carried around 160 passengers in one trip thereby becoming unbearable for the boat.
The official said that to worsen the situation, the vessel was also loaded with bags of sand from a gold mine.
There have been several boat capsizing on Nigerian waterways which were mostly caused by overcrowding and lack of maintenance of the boats. This happens particularly during the annual rainy season.
Recall that 30 people drowned early this month when an overloaded boat capsized in central Niger state as well.