The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) said the death toll in Friday’s evening boat mishap near Ikorodu has risen to five while one victim is still in critical condition.
The General Manager of LASWA, Mr. Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos while providing an update on the incident.
According to him, 16 of the passengers on board the ill-fated ferry have so far been rescued by the rescue team while search and rescue efforts are still ongoing.
“Rescue effort commenced this morning with the Commissioner of Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, LASWA Search Party, Local Boat Operators, Marine Police, and LASEMA (Lagos State Emergency Management Agency).
“So far sixteen (16) passengers have been rescued alive with one person in critical condition and five (5) fatalities recorded.
“The Lagos State Government through the commissioner for transportation commiserates with the families of those who lost their loved ones in this tragedy.
“Search and rescue effort is still ongoing, ’’ the LASWA boss said.
He said that the accident happened at Owode/Ibeshe near Ikorodu at about 8.30 p.m. on Friday evening.
According to him, both the boat operator and the passengers broke the law against night travel on waterways.
Emmanuel said that the boat, which took off illegally from Èbúté Ẹrọ Jetty, heading toward Ikorodu, ran into an unforeseen object on the waterways, which resulted in the mishap.
He said that the Lagos State Government, through the authority, had repeatedly warned boat operators and passengers against night travel on the Lagos Inland waterways.
On Friday, a-20 capacity passenger boat with the name “Lalek Marine” was suspected to have left Ebute Ero Jetty around 8.00 p.m. after the approved sailing time of 6.00 p.m. and didn’t arrive at its destination which was Ikorodu Terminal.
On the same night when the incident occurred, four passengers were dead, four others were missing while 11 were rescued alive.
On June 23, a local boat with four adult males on a boating expedition capsized due to water turbulence.
Three of the passengers were rescued alive while one was missing.
Earlier on June 18, LASWA had celebrated zero records of boat mishap in the last six months in the state waterways.