Ten people died at about 7:45am on Friday in Rivers state when a boat capsized while conveying about 35 passengers from Bonny Island to Port Harcourt.
Onimode Bandele, coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), confirmed the tragic incident.
“We can confirm that 10 persons died early today when a Port Harcourt-bound passenger boat sank,” he told AFP.
“Rescue efforts are ongoing and the agency is already working with other bodies and security agencies in the rescue efforts.”
Commenting on the situation, Adonye Wilcox, chairman of Bonny local government council, said the collusion of the boat with an object in the water led to the accident, adding that about eight people were still missing.
“Information available… indicates that the boat hit an object on the way and sank,” he said.
“Local divers have rescued 17 persons, including four members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), while 10 persons died as a result of the accident.”
Virtually all commuters in the region rely on boat as a means of transportation to connect surrounding locations, as there are no roads linking the island to neighboring communities.