By Ifeanyi Olannye
Asaba, Sept. 29, 2020 At least four persons were feared dead in a passenger canoe mishap that occured in the early hours of Tuesday at Omeluigboma, near Oko, in Oshimili South Local Government Area of Delta.
Naija247news reports that Omeluigboma and Oko communities are situated by the bank of River Niger.
During rainy season, the tributaries of the River Niger usually overflow, causing major flooding in the communities.
The only means of transportation for the residents to connect other communities, including Asaba, Onitsha and environs, during the rainy season, is via canoe transportation.
Mr Sylvanus Ejezie, who resides in Omeluigboma, told NAN that a canoe capsized, while ferrying passengers, leading to the death of the four passengers.
Ejezie, who is the Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Delta chapter, said that divers in the community immediately swung into action but only rescued four of the eight passengers alive.
He said that the incident happened when the canoe capsized in flood water, while transporting passengers from Omeluigboma to the Onitsha-Asaba Expressway.
Narrating the incident to NAN, he said: “We woke up this morning to see this unfortunate incident, which was caused by flood waters currently rising and getting turbulent due to the overflowing of the River Niger.
“We jumped into the river on a rescue mission, we rescued four passengers, while all efforts to find the remaining four were fruitless.
“As I speak with you, we have lost hope. So, we are hoping that later in the day or Wednesday their bodies will float on water in order to be recovered.
Ejezie said that a rescue team from the community had been placed on standby to watch and comb everywhere for the missing persons.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Asaba, DSP Onome Onovwakpoye, confimed the incident to Naija247news adding that “efforts were being made to recover the remaining persons”.