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Seven feared dead in Edo boat accident


At least seven people are feared dead after a boat capsized on the Gelegele River in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State. 

The boat was carrying 28 passengers on their way from Ofunama to Ekehuan market when it ran out of fuel and hit oil barges belonging to a multinational oil exploration company.

The boat operator was said to have anchored the boat and gone to source for fuel, but when he returned, he was unable to start the engine. While he was trying to start the boat, high waves pushed the boat into the barges.

The Vice Chairman of Ovia South West Local Government Area, Blessing Perewari, while speaking to journalists said “From what I heard I was also at the scene where the boat capsized. About 28 adults, two pregnant women and three babies were involved. When they got to the Gelegele waterside there was this Dubri oil company barge that was parked in parallel.

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“Because of the way the barges were parked caused obstruction on the waterway. So, this particular boat carrying 28 persons after dropping two passengers tried to restart the boat but the engine failed to respond.

“And because of the high current of the river it now pushed the boat into the Dubri oil barges and it torpedoed under the barges making it difficult for the victims to come out. Some of them that know how to swim managed to escape while others were trapped under the barges.

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“With the help of the Marine Police and other community inhabitants, we were able to rescue 18 of the passengers and seven died. The remains of the dead have been deposited at Time Hospital and Stella Obasanjo Hospital.”

One of the people who participated in the rescue operation, Comrade Joseph Gbale, said that the barges should not have been parked in a double manner, thereby narrowing the water way.

The Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, said that the report of the incident had been sent to the Edo State Police Command in Benin City.