8 April 2014

Liberia: Several Students Feared Dead Following Capsize of Boat From West Point

Three students are confirmed dead after a river boat capsized on the Measurado River on Monday in Monrovia.

The incident occurred early Monday morning when some marketers and students were said to be making their way to school, work and to the market, residents of West Point told The INQUIRER when a team of this paper's reporters visited the disaster scene.

Among the dead according to eyewitnesses, were marketers and some students from the James Doe Young AGM Memorial School who use the boats daily to cross from West Point to the Clara Town community on the Bushrod Island.

Eye witnesses told this paper that since the banning of motorbikes, many students and marketers have resorted to using canoes on the river as the main transportation on the Measurado River. They added that due to the increase of canoe users, boats have been brought on the river to assist in transporting residents of Clara Town and West Point in going about their normal activities.

Those on the scene disclosed that the situation was a result of over-crowdedness. They said the River Boat, M.V. Standard capsized due to its over-crowdedness as many were said to be rushing to the market and to school.

Officers from the Liberian National Coast Guard were quickly called on the scene when residents and the boat operators began rescuing some of the victims from the river.

Our reporters observed that the Coast Guard brought in divers to search for survivors or bodies that could still be submerged in the river. However, experts said it could take several days before bodies begin to float over the river.

Slippers, shoes, cell phones, and other personal effects were seen floating over the Measurado River following the incident. One eyewitness told this paper that rescuers pulled out victims of all sexes and ages.

According to reports, on several occasions, government officials had warned citizens from using the river boats or canoes as transport to avoid such accident as what transpired yesterday but this warning had not been heeded to.

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