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Boat driver who carried late Junior pope, other actors not certified –NSIB

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The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) on Friday released preliminary report on the boat accident involving some Nollywood actors which occurred in Anambra, declaring that the boat driver was not certified.

The NSIB disclosed this on Friday while briefing newsmen on the release of four final and preliminary reports by the bureau.

Presented by the Director General, Capt. Alex Badeh Jn were two Aviation incident final reports, one aviation incident preliminary report, and a marine accident preliminary report, along with 20 safety recommendations.

The boat accident occured in Anam River in Anambra State on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

It was conveying 12 actors and crew members before it crashed resulting in loss of five passengers including popular Nollywood actor, Mr. Paul Odonwodo, popularly known as Junior Pope.

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Others who died in the incident were Ms. Abigail Frederick, Mr. Precious Oforum, and Mr. Joseph Anointing.

Director, Transport Investigation who presented the findings of the preliminary report and others during the briefing stated that the speed boat capsized and all occupants were flung into the Anam River.

According to him, five passengers were fatally injured and seven were rescued alive.

The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) was not officially notified but got to know about the accident through social media.

Investigators from the Enugu Regional office of NSIB were dispatched to the accident site on 12 April, 2024.

According to NSIB, initial findings were that the boat driver was not certified; The fibre boat was not registered with the National Inland Waterways Authority; The outboard engine fibre boat was carrying 12 passengers and one boat driver.

The director said, “There was only one person on the wooden fishing canoe. This rowdiness in the boat distracted the driver and he was not looking out as required.

“The boat was on high speed and the crossing canoe was moving at a much slower speed.

“The only occupant of the canoe, on sighting the fast approaching boat jumped into the river and escaped; The boat collided with the canoe at a high speed which resulted in the boat capsizing and all persons onboard were flung into Anam River.”

The preliminary report stated that while five passengers on the boat were fatally injured, the remaining seven passengers and the driver survived the crash.

“Only one passenger on the outboard engine fibre boat was wearing a life jacket. The only passenger wearing a life jacket came with it and was not provided by the operator.

“The passenger wearing the life jacket was one of the survivors. The boat was fitted with an outboard engine. There was no manifest of passengers and persons onboard the boat. Rescue operation was not timely and there were no trained divers around to assist in the operation.”

In its safety recommendations, the bureau urged the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Ensure that all boats involved in commercial activities (goods and passengers) within the national inland waterways are registered, adding the authority must ensure adequate safety measures are implemented and enforced in our inland waterways.

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