UPDATE: A boat traveling from Oron in Akwa Ibom State to Malabao in Equilateral Guinea, yesterday, capsized at the Calabar Waterways with no fewer than 162 passengers feared dead.
Accroding to eyewitnesses, the passengers were traveling in a “giant-sized wooden boat” when it capsized at 40 nautical miles along the coast of Calabar off Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, waterways”.
45 corpses of some of the victims have been deposited at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, mortuary.
A statement by spokesman of National Emergency Management Agency, Mr Y A Shuaib however said “Nigerian rescuers have recovered 9 bodies while two survivors have been taken to UCTH Calabar”, adding that rescue continues.
Reuters – At least 45 people died when a wooden boat carrying 166 people from southeastern Nigeria capsized off the coast, a doctor said on Tuesday.
The boat left on Friday from the remote town of Oron, in Cross Rivers state, and was heading across the Gulf of Guinea to Gabon, in central Africa, when it capsized 40 nautical miles offshore, emergency services and traders said.
A doctor at a hospital in the coastal town of Calabar said they had received 45 bodies of passengers who had drowned.
David Akate, head of Cross Rivers emergency services, said he had no official death toll yet. Two known survivors were a young boy and a woman who had clung to a gas cylinder and were rescued by fishermen, he added.
Yushua Shuaib, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, said they could only confirm nine dead so far.
“They are mostly … traders from the southeast who headed to Oron to board the wooden boat,” said Ikechukwu Egwu, a marine transporter in the area.
Boat accidents are relatively common in Africa, where safety standards are poor. As many as 138 people died when an overloaded boat carrying passengers and goods capsized in rough water on a river in Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010.
Some 35 people taking this route from Nigeria to Gabon died after their boat sunk off the coast of Cameroon in 2008.