As many as 150 passengers recently escaped death when a wooden boat went up in flames at the Nembe-Bille-Bonny Jetty in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, The PUNCH reports.
According to PUNCH Metro, it was gathered that immediately fire gutted the boat, passengers jumped into the river, abandoning their goods which were destroyed by the fire.
It was learnt that the fire started when the boat driver tried to start the engine.
A witness, who gave his name as Bob, said the goods burnt included foodstuffs and building materials.
A worker at the jetty, who identified himself simply as Brown, said no life was lost, adding that three persons, including the boat driver, sustained injuries.
Brown said, “The driver wanted to start the engine, but it refused to start. He decided to pour fuel on the carburettor. After pouring the fuel, he attempted to start the engine when two naked wires had contact and the fire started. The boat roof and goods like Garri, rice and beans were burnt.
“The boat sank, but some passengers jumped into the water. Most of the elderly men and women were immediately helped out of the boat.”
The Rivers State Chairman, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Jonah Jumbo, said the incident was not reported.
“Are they members of the union? When such a thing happens, our people there are supposed to report to us; some of them (boat drivers) are operating illegally,” Jumbo stated.