On Saturday, June 18, an Otuan boat accident between the settlements of Otuan and Ayama in the Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State, has claimed the lives of six people.
A female NYSC member, a pregnant woman, a mother with two children, and a 70-year-old man, Chief Lucky Daniels, who is reported to be the father of a Bayelsa journalist, Domo Timi, were among the casualties of the Otuan Boat Accident.
Some of the victims’ bodies are still missing at the time of this report, and rescue and search attempts are still underway.
The 75 Horse Power engine boat was its route to Ayama Ijaw from Otuan Community when it capsized at 4pm on Saturday, according to Bayelsa State Chairman of the Maritime Workers Union, Comrade Ipigansi Ogoniba.
Stormy weather was blamed for the mishap, according to Comrade Ogoniba.
He, on the other hand, blamed the deaths caused by the disaster on the passengers’ failure to wear the recommended safety life jackets.
It was the fault of the boat’s driver, according to him, who was supposed to guarantee that every passenger entering the boat was given a life jacket before going on the excursion.
As a result, Ogoniba issued a warning that any boat driver who disobeys the union’s authority of “no life jacket for passengers, no movement” will be detained and prosecuted.
Comrade Ogoniba said the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) officials had been alerted through the Community Liaison Officer about the identify of the corps member involved in the boat catastrophe (CLO).
“They’re still looking for her body, and we’ve contacted the NYSC to find out who she is,” he continued.
The boat driver, Lucky Christopher, who survived the accident, has been detained by the Police Unit in Ayama for alleged reckless driving, according to Joseph Shedrack, the elected Chairman of the Maritime Union in Otuan Community.
“I was chairman of the Union but some persons who claimed to know more than themselves have been taking charge of the Otuan Unit. If I had been around, i would not have allowed the loading of the boat due to poor visibility and bad weather,” he said.
He said preliminary investigations showed that the weather was bad and rain storm started but “those claiming to be acting allowed such trip”
Spokesman of the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Buatswat, confirmed the incident but said he is yet to be properly briefed on the number of casualties and what led to the accident.
When contacted, the State Public Relations Officer of the NYSC, Mathew Ngobua, said;
“We got the information and the State Coordinator and other staff left the Orientation and went to the place. The State Coordinator told me that the corps member’s name is said to be on the passenger manifest and the said corps member is not at the lodge.
“However, we will make a detailed report after the search and rescue or when the body is recovered. The NYSC will make an official brief when the body is sighted and properly identified.”