Driver of the boat that capsized at Ogbaru in Anambra on Friday, Mr Desmond Amugo, says he had 48 passengers on board and not 85 passengers as was being reported.
Amugo made the assertion on Sunday at Atani, headquarters of Ogbaru Local Government Area while briefing government officials on the circumstances that led to the accident.
Nine passengers have been seen alive, while 20 corpses have been recovered so far from the accident. 10 of the corpses were recovered on Sunday.
The driver said majority of the passengers he had on board were women and children trying to escape from their flooded communities.
Amaugo explained that he sailed into a heavy wave which affected the smooth operation of the boat and resulted in it hitting one of the pillars supporting the Umunnakwe/Ossomala Bridge.
He said his spirited efforts to manoeuvre away from danger were unsuccessful as he lost control of the boat before it capsized.
The driver also said some of the women had besieged his house very early on Friday and persuaded him to ferry them to Ogbakuba, another location that was not submerged by flood.
Family members who identified some of the corpses were seen lamenting their losses.
One of them, Mr Bernard Achonu said he lost his wife and three children aged between six years and two years.
“My wife and the children were moving to a safe place because our house was already submerged,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Chief Paul Odenigbo, Executive Secretary Anambra State Emergency Management Agency told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the search for more victims was still on-going.
He said that only nine persons survived the accident even as about 20 corpses have been recovered so far.
“When this kind of accident occurs, it usually takes little time before the dead bodies start to float; we hope that once that happens, all the remaining bodies will be recovered,’’ he said.
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