3 medical students feared dead in Calabar boat mishap

No fewer than three medical students – two from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and one from the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, are feared dead after their cruise boat capsized at Marina Resort waterways in Calabar, Cross River State.

The incident happened around 3pm on Saturday with 15 passengers, including 13 medical students, in the cruise boat.

Ten of the medical students were rescued by a patrol team of the Nigerian Navy and  some local divers.

Cross River Governor, Bassey Otu, expressed sadness and ordered an investigation into the accident.

The Governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Emmanuel Ogbeche, said, “As a government, our administration remains committed to protecting the sanctity of life and providing an enabling environment for business, tourism and peaceable living. Therefore, any untoward action that could derail our objective will not be tolerated.”

Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Students Association, Egim Egbe, on Sunday in Calabar, said the boat cruise was part of activities marking the association’s 2023 Health Week.

“We came to the Marina Resort and we had pre-informed the management that we will have a cruise boat ride amongst other experiences in the resort. We had a first set of 11 passengers that went on the ride and returned safely. The second set of students boarded a total of 13 students and the accident occurred,” he said.

He said after the safe landing of the first set of students on the cruise ride, some concerns were raised and the management gave assurance before the second set boarded the boat.

“However, the driver of the first set handed over to another driver and left to get fuel. The boat took off and mid-way the boat engine went off and water started entering the boat in an uncontrollable manner that sank part of the boat before it finally capsized,” he said.

He blamed the incident on the negligence, incompetence and lackadaisical attitude of the management of the Marina resort boat cruise operators.

He said though the students all wore life vests while on board; most of the vests had worn out and were of poor quality.

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