1 person killed, 2 injured in Edo boat accident
By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria
The Edo State Police Command said on Monday that one person was killed and four others injured when a commercial vessel collided with a stationary barge in Geregere, South West Obia Local Government Area on Thursday.
Some residents claimed that up to seven people died in the accident.
The boat, carrying mainly women and children, is said to have run out of fuel after passengers disembarked at one of the riverside settlements.
The boat reportedly veered off course and collided with a barge.
When contacted, the state police public relations officer, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, confirmed the accident, saying only one person died in the incident.
“Marine police confirmed that one person was killed and four others injured, while others were rescued unharmed,” Nwabuzor said. Deputy Chairman of the Council Blessing Perewari, who visited the scene of the incident, expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and said the deceased had been buried in the mortuary.
He said: “From what I was told, there were about 28 adults, two pregnant women and three infants involved. When they arrived on the shore at Gere Gere, there was an oil barge moored alongside them.
“The barge was anchored in such a way as to block the waterway. This particular boat was carrying 28 people, and after losing two passengers, an attempt was made to restart the boat, but the engine was unresponsive.
“Due to the strong river current, he forced his boat onto the barge, and the torpedo became trapped under the barge, making it difficult for the victims to escape.” Some of those who could swim managed to escape. There were some who could swim. He was trapped under the barge.
“With the cooperation of the Maritime Police and other local residents, we were able to rescue 18 passengers and seven died.”
Mr. Perewari was accused of failing to provide an ambulance to transport the dead. He blamed the oil companies.
However, a company official, who was not authorized to comment on the matter, said: “Our barge and tug were berthed at the pier and coincidentally it was Ecuan market day.” If you’ve ever been to our dock, we usually have three barges moored there. They had been there before her 1987, but they weren’t the only boats that passed that location that day.
“The police are participating in the rescue operation and know everything about what happened.” A military speedboat was also nearby and witnessed what happened.
“The community leader works for the company that owns the barge. He was there for a routine inspection when the incident occurred. He was the first to mobilize divers from the community for rescue efforts. ”