Desmond Amugo, driver of the capsized boat in Ogbaru LGA in Anambra state, says he had 48 passengers on board — and not 85.
86 people were reportedly onboard the ill-fated boat and seventy-six of them were said to have died in the mishap.
Amugo made the disclosure on Sunday at Atani, headquarters of Ogbaru LGA, while briefing government officials on the circumstances that led to the accident.
According to him, majority of the passengers 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, causing it to hit one of the pillars supporting the Umunnakwe/Ossomala bridge.
He further stated that his efforts to manoeuvre from danger were unsuccessful as he lost control of the boat before it capsized.
He said some of the women had besieged his house early on Friday and persuaded him to ferry them to Ogbakuba, another location that was not submerged by flood.
According to NAN, Bernard Achonu, a bereaved relative, said he lost his wife and three children aged two to six years.
“My wife and the children were moving to a safe place because our house was already submerged,’’ he said.
On his part, Paul Odenigbo, executive secretary of Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said the search for more victims was still ongoing.
He said only nine persons survived the accident and 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.
With NAN report