Sixteen bodies are said to have been recovered following the boat mishap at Ogbaru Local Government Area in Anambra State.
A native of the area, Eze Ogbugbulu, said the 16 bodies recovered included children.
The boat carrying 85 passengers capsized in River Niger, Anambra State at the weekend, with 76 of them feared dead
Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency, Paul Odenigbo, said nine persons were rescued.
He said, “When something like this happens, it takes up to a week before you start seeing the bodies because they will go down deep in the river.
“What happened was pathetic and regrettable. It will take some time before the bodies come up and start floating on the water.
“Out of the 85 persons on board, only nine were rescued and since we’ve not seen the rest, it’s assumed something bad must have happened. It’s quite unfortunate.”
A former chairman of the LGA, Arinze Awogu, put the figure of recovered bodies at 13.
“All hands are on deck. Recovering the bodies will not be easy and before this (last) night, we hope more bodies will be found,” Awogu said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed all other rescue and relief agencies to rush to the site of boat accident.
The president, in a statement yesterday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, also directed relevant agencies of government to check the safety protocols on the transport ferries to make sure such incidents were avoided in the future.
He said he was saddened by the boat accident and directed that all possible efforts be made to account for all the passengers as more details were awaited.
“I pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased and for everyone’s safety, as well as the well-being of the family members of the victims of this tragic accident,” said the president.
Shehu recalled the boat reportedly carrying 85 persons capsized following rising floods in Ogbaru area of the state, with emergency bodies confirming a death toll of 76.
He said following the tragedy, the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority and the National Emergency Management Agency had embarked on rescue and recovery missions expeditiously.