In a tragic incident on Gelegele River, located in the Ovia North East Local Government of Edo State, seven individuals are feared dead after a boat mishap. The ill-fated boat, carrying 28 passengers from Ofunama, encountered a devastating fate when it ran out of fuel during its journey.
The incident occurred on Ekehuan market day, a time when the boat was dropping passengers off at riverine communities. The operator of the boat anchored it and left to procure fuel. Upon his return, he attempted to restart the boat, but it failed to respond.
Tragically, high waves pushed the boat into oil barges belonging to a multi-national oil exploration company. The barges obstructed the waterway, making it difficult for the victims to escape. Despite efforts by some who knew how to swim, a total of seven individuals lost their lives in the boat mishap.
Blessing Perewari, the Vice Chairman of Ovia South West Local Government, where many victims hailed from, shared the grim details of the incident. He revealed that 28 adults, two pregnant women, and three babies were on board the boat. Some passengers managed to swim to safety, but others were trapped under the oil barges, leading to the tragic loss of lives.
Community member and rescue operation participant, Comrade Joseph Gbale, emphasized the importance of responsible navigation, pointing out that the barges should not have been parked in a manner that narrowed the waterway. The Marine Police, along with community inhabitants, collaborated in rescue efforts, managing to save 18 passengers from the capsized boat.
An official report of the incident has been sent to the Edo State Police Command in Benin City. The Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, acknowledged the incident and assured further updates, indicating the ongoing investigation into this heartbreaking tragedy.
IMAGE: Premium Times