A boat carrying residents returning from a wedding capsized in northern Nigeria killing about 100 people, police and local residents have said, as a search for survivors intensified.
The boat capsized early on Monday on the Niger River in the state of Kwara close to neighbouring Niger state, a police spokesperson, Okasanmi Ajayi, said.
“What we gathered was there was a boat that capsized and about 100 people died,” he said.
The victims, including women and children, were returning from an overnight wedding ceremony in the village of Egboti in Niger state, said Usman Ibrahim, a resident.
It was not immediately clear if there were survivors.
People in the boat were to take their bikes to their various communities [upon disembarking]. The boat was carrying more than 100 people when it sank,” Ibrahim said.
Many of the victims drowned because the boat sank at about 3am, with few people aware of it until hours later, he said. “Up till now, some dead bodies are still being searched [for].”
On Tuesday afternoon officials and local people were still searching for bodies in the river, one of Nigeria’s largest.
Boat accidents are common in many remote communities in Nigeria where locally made vessels are often used for transport. Overloading and poorly maintained vessels are often blamed.