CITIZENS COMPASS- IT was lamentation galore on Thursday, during a chat with Omotayo Moses and Emmanuel Thompson who were among the 15 survivours of the ill-fated boat which capsized at Ipakodo, Ikorodu enroute Lagos Island on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, as both cited negligence and delayed medical response being major reasons that claimed the lives of two unlucky passengers during the incident.
The survivours who spoke with Vanguard from different locations in Ikorodu, on Thursday, lamented that they did not cite professional divers all through the period of the rescue operation.
Also, they claimed that delayed arrival of Lagos State Emergency Ambulance Services, LASAMBUS, to the scene of the incident contributed to hampered rescue operation on that day.
Narrating how the incident occured, Omotayo said the boat took off on a good note at about 8.05am but was submerged barely five minutes after the take- off.
How it happened
“There were 17 passengers on board aside the Captain and his deputy and all wore life jackets but the Captain lacked concentration at the take off point and unconsciously not holding the steering as he was engrossed in a conversation with his assistant who was behind.
“The water was calm and we all hoped to land safely but by the time the Captain returned to his senses, it was almost too late as he lost control of the boat. While trying to turn it withing 360 degrees, the boat turned round and in a bid to forcefully redirect it, it was submerged in water and fear gripped all of us.
“Fortunately, some fishermen who were close by, noticed what was happening, and left their assignment to rescue us through the window.
“As this was ongoing, some boat operators at the jetty who were observing the incident from afar also came to our rescue. Some of them dived into the water while some came in boats.
“Two female passengers Ms Blessing and Oluwatoyin, were unlucky as one was recovered dead while the other was not. However, the rescue efforts were affected by lack of medical facilities at the jetty as LASAMBUS arrived late and the only option was to rush the lady to the General Hospital, Ikorodu.
“The survivours had to wait for LASAMBUS and when it eventually arrived, the only thing it did was to check our blood pressure and nothing more.
“They told me my blood pressure was high and that I should go and treat myself. Same information was passed to my co-survivours but I thank God that our condition was manageable unlike those who lost their lives. I only feel for the fatality who was poorly managed.
“I believe the lady would have been revived if not for the late arrival of LASAMBUS or lack of medical facilities at the jetty.
“The boat engine was okay but the Captain’s attitude left the passengers to wonder is he was trained. The water was calmed and there was no water hyacinth on the water ways. ” said Omotayo.
Corroborating Omotayo’s view, Thompson, a regular passenger at the jetty said on many occasions, he had noticed lackadaisical attitude of some boat operators which leaves him to wonder if their services were actually regulated by the state government.
He cited, unprofessionalism, unkempt life jackets and several other factors as causes of loss of lives on the waterways. “The loss of lives recorded yesterday (Wednesday) was caused by human error as perssonnel of waterways authority no longer patrol it to forestall such occurrences.
“On June 24, we heard in the news that the state government unveiled a floating clinic but it is a pity that this could not be accessed when the incident claimed the lives of two passengers. ” He lamented.
Despite the Wednesday mishap, activities at Ipakodo Jetty continued on Thursday as some passengers said they resolved to boarding the boats to avoid perennial traffic and robberies on Lagos roads.
Some respondents urged the state and federal governments to ensure safety of lives on waterways.
Recall that the boat marked R & N 2” , had departed Ipakodo Jetty for Lagos Island when it was submerged in water having travelled for about 200 meters away from the Jetty.
Following the incident, LASWA General, Oluwadanilola Emmanuel said the boat Captain was under interrogation.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu did not respond to Vanguard messages when contacted.