As the rainy season in Nigeria, West Africa wages on, a boat carrying nearly 300 people recently capsized in the Niger River—leading to at least 106 deaths, per reports.
The “Overloaded” Vessel Allegedly Crashed Into A “Big Log”
According to CNN, the tragedy occurred around 3 a.m. on Monday (Jun. 12).
Many of the passengers were heading home from a wedding, and trouble arose shortly after the boat left the shore, Nigeria Police Force spokesperson Ajayi Okasanmi says.
“On leaving the shore, one part of the boat by the engine side collapsed where water penetrated the boat, which ultimately led to the boat capsizing…Leading to the deaths of about 106 people.”
Additionally, AP News reports that local chief Abdul Gana Lukpada cited overcrowding and a “big log” as contributing factors.
“The boat was overloaded and close to 300 persons were in it. While they were coming, the boat hit a big log inside the water and split into two.”
Survivor Recalls Parents Drowning With Children In Their Arms
Mohammed Alhassan, 22, was on the boat during the ordeal in question, though he managed to survive after swimming to safety.
Harrowingly, during a sit-down with BBC, Alhassan recalled seeing parents drown in futile attempts to try and save their children.
“The women remained behind trying to carry their children—some of them had three or four children.”
He added, “There were also fathers who died the same way trying to save their kids.”
Liman Umar—a local authority—notes that the sweeping tragedy has affected everyone in his Kwara State, Nigeria, community of Ebo. All in all, the community reportedly lost 61 people in the ordeal.
“We are all grieving from this sad incident and only pray [for] Allah to ease our pains. In our community, we do things together. When we rejoice, we do as one and now that this has befallen us, we are all not sleeping.”
15 Children Lost Their Lives Through A Similar Boat Tragedy In Nigeria
This catastrophe comes just a month after another boat-based tragedy in Nigeria.
As The Shade Room previously reported, at least 15 children lost their lives in a boat accident while on their way to retrieve firewood.
The children who drowned, 13 girls and two boys, were “recovered by local rescue teams and buried in the village,” administrator Aliyu Abubakar told France 24.
Police spokesperson Sanusi Abubakar provided further details to CNN, noting that a total of 36 children were on board at the time. Thankfully, authorities rescued the remaining 21 kids.