Authorities Blame Night Travels As Boat Accident Claims Over 13 Lives Of Andoni Natives Returning To Bonny Island
It was a black Tuesday, January 9 2023 for the the people of Andoni, in Andoni LGA of Rivers State, as reports started circulating in the early hours of the morning, of a serious boat mishap which resulted in several casualties.
According to the reports, two boats believed to be transporting passengers who came for the Xmas/ New year celebration at Ngo town, were traveling back to Bonny before the unfortunate incident occurred late at night.
Many passengers reportedly lost their lives in the incident and the victims are said to be Indigenes of Ngo Town, Ataba, Isiama and other communities in Andoni numbering over 20. A few of the passengers survived and are alive as at press time.
a source who is also an Andoni Native said, “The fishing boat which is the only source of livelihood for Mr. Ayayi Promise Festus from Ngo, carried 25 passengers, including his wife, Mrs. Rose Promise, 4 of his children and his little grandchild, had departed Ngo town to Bonny, their settlement, around 2PM, yesterday 8th January 2024.
While traveling, the boat was struck by a heavy wave around Bonny river which divided and destroyed the big boat.
As at when this unfortunate incident occurred there were no rescue team to save the 25 passengers on board. Hours later when rescue team came 11 passengers had drowned while 14 passengers including Mr. Ayayi promise Festus and wife were rescued.
Among the 11 passengers who drowned 5 were the children and the little grandchild of Mr. Ayayi Promise Festus, the driver and owner of the boat who’s a fisherman. Sadly!
Thus far, 3 bodies have been discovered and 8 are still missing, and currently being searched for.
Attached is the photo of Mr. Ayayi Promise Festus,
Reacting to the incident the Executive Chairman of Andoni LGA, Mr. Erastus Awortu, in a statement issued early Wednesday, expressed shock at the terrible incident. which occurred on Tuesday night, even as the statement disclosed that the unfortunate incident is said to have involved two passenger boats on their way to Bonny, a popular coastal town in the district.
Awortu described the council’s attempts to save those who were still alive, provide first aid to the injured, and recover the bodies of the deceased from the river; vowing to mitigate the pains of the deceased families and communities in this their trying moments.
He 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.
In addition, the council chairman emphasized the need for boat operators to adhere to all passenger safety procedures and recommended against night time sea travel.
The statement reads:
“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,” the statement stated.
“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.”