No fewer than 22 passengers were stranded on water Sunday, May 1, when fuel was depleted from a commercial engine boat conveying them from Oke-Ira to Bayeku, in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
The incident occurred a few minutes after the boat took off from Oke-Ira jetty at about 3pm.
As soon as the incident happened, some of the passengers made phone calls to their relatives to explain the situation and this drew sympathisers to the jetty.
According to eye witnesses, the boat started spinning and sailing to an unknown destination for about 40 minutes before the passengers were rescued.
An eye witness Mr Suraj Edun said before their take off at Oke-Ira, an operator drew the attention of his colleagues to the fact that the available fuel was not sufficient for a 10 minutes journey to Bayeku but this was discarded and the operator zoomed off only to leave the 22 passengers stranded mid way.
Another eye witness who pleaded anonymity said the boat was on high speed when it’s engine suddenly stopped a situation which instilled fear in the passengers who thought there was a mishap until they saw themselves being tossed to and fro on waters.
He said, “initially, we thought there was a mishap and some of us bombarded the operator with questions to know what transpired.”
He said contrary to the passengers’ view, the operator gently explained that there was no fuel in the engine and the passengers cried louder, “many of us made phone calls to our relatives but this did not yield any result until 40 minutes after.”
He said the operator stayed with them throughout the period and continued to make calls to his colleagues before one of them came to their rescue at about 4.20pm.
Contacted, Chairman of the jetty, Alhaji Ganiyu Lukmon said he responded to the incident as soon as he got a distress call.
The Chairman Lagos State Emergency Management Authority LASEMA, Michael Akindele could not be reached on phone, at the time of filing this report, but the South West Information Officer for National Emergency Management Agency NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye said necessary arrangement was made to rescue all the passengers.
The passengers claimed they paid as much as N300 for the journey.