UPDATED 4:06 PM PT – Saturday, May 29, 2021
At least 76 people have died after an overloaded riverboat capsized in northeast Nigeria. A burial ceremony was held on Saturday for victims of the fatal incident in the Kebbi region, which sent more than 150 passengers into the waters below.
Authorities believe the boat capsized because of the amount of people on board, many of whom are believed to be traders traveling north to the markets there. President Muhammadu Buhari called the mishap devastating, after the country’s inland waterways authority said only 20 people had been rescued and another 156 were still missing.
Recovery efforts reportedly persisted through Friday as survivors gave harrowing accounts of the event. One survivor spoke of her friends who were lost at sea, stating she made every effort to help hold on to them before they were washed away. “I lost my friends, they were saying ‘Maryam don’t let us die, Maryam don’t let us die’.”
At least 22 people were rescued and taken to local hospitals where they were later discharged. Authorities say they will be looking to review maritime laws to prevent another tragedy.