Bodies of 17 people recovered after Nigeria boat accident

The boat had set sail on Friday evening, but was carried into a barge by the tide and capsized.

A boat of the Lagos State Ferry Services
A ferry leaves the Five Cowries Terminal in Lagos, Nigeria on February 10, 2020 [Temilade Adelaja/Reuters]

Authorities have recovered 17 bodies – believed to be all of those on board – following a boat accident off Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos.

Thirteen bodies were recovered on Sunday, according to the inland waterways agency, with the other four recovered the previous day.

The boat had set sail on Friday evening, despite rules that bar night travel, authorities said.

Sarat Braimah, the area manager of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), said the tide had carried the vessel towards a barge, causing it to overturn.

The agency said the captain and 16 passengers, including children, were on board at the time of the crash. The ages of the dead were not immediately released.

Rescue operators quickly mobilised following a distress call and began searching for those on board, officials said.

Overcrowding and poor maintenance of boats are responsible for most accidents on Nigerian waterways, which become more treacherous during the annual rainy season from April to July.

Two days before the most recent accident, two people were killed and 15 rescued when their boat capsized in the city of Ikorodu.

Meanwhile, large portions of Lagos state have flooded in recent days, a phenomenon largely attributed to poor drainage systems. Local media, citing officials, reported that five people were missing following flooding in the Agege suburb.

Authorities have blamed an increase in flooding, in part, on climate change.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies