No less than 20 persons have died in a boat accident in Andoni waterways in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers state.
The sad development was revealed in a statement on Wednesday by the Executive Chairman of Andoni LGA, Erastus Awortu.
The incident which occured on Tuesday night was said to have involved two passenger boats on their way to Bonny, a nearby coastal council district.
Awortu expressed his condolences to the victims’ families and communities, lamenting that the sad tragedy occurred after successful festive events, including unification carnivals in the council region.
He noted that the council would save those who were still alive, provide first aid to the injured, and recover the bodies of the deceased from the river.
In addition, the council chairman emphasized the need of boat operators adhering to all passenger safety procedures and recommended against nighttime sea travel.
He said, “We received with rude shock and deep pain a disturbing report that over 20 people from Andoni are feared dead in a boat mishap involving two Andoni/Bonny-bound boats that occurred within the Andoni waterways on Tuesday January 9, 2024.
“When we learned of the tragic development, we immediately dispatched our team to join the first responders on a rescue mission at the scene of the incident in an attempt to salvage the situation.
“Our hearts go out to the victims’ families and communities, particularly those in Ngo Town, Ataba, Isiama, and other communities where loved ones were involved in the boat mishap.
“We share their anguish and trauma, and our prayers and thoughts are with them during this difficult time.
“As a Local Government, we will do everything we can to alleviate the grief of bereaved families and communities.
“We also warn the operators to desist from embarking on night journey on sea.”
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