- A 36-year-old man identified as Joseph Blackson saved 13 passengers during the boat accident that claimed the lives of six persons in Rivers state
- The father of two sadly lost his life after single-handedly rescuing 13 persons where the passenger boat capsized
- The heroic effort of the young contractor has been lauded by residents of Bakama in the Degema local government area
The heroic effort of a young contractor, Joseph Blackson, who saved 13 passengers, during a boat accident that claimed the lives of six persons has been lauded by residents of Bakama in the Degema local government area of Rivers state.
NAIJ.com gathered that Blackson, sadly lost his life during the boat accident after single-handedly rescuing 13 persons apart from those who were saved by the fishermen around Iborama, where the passenger boat capsized.
The 36-year-old who was a diesel supplier, was trying to rescue the 14th person when he died in the river.
Sources said the river was deep and going in and out of it for more than eight times could be energy-sapping.
A friend of the deceased, who identified himself as Benibo, at the Abonnema Wharf said that the 36-year-old father of two was known for helping people in need.
“He (Blackson) used to manage a family filling station at Rumuola (before it was demolished). Until his death, he was a contractor, supplying diesel in Trans Amadi to companies there. He didn’t use life jacket like others. He gave up the ghost in the process of rescuing them,” Benibo said.
Blackson is the only person, whose body had been recovered, even as the police insisted that one person died during the boat accident.
A survivor, who did not want her name mentioned, blamed the boat accident on the speed of the boat captain, adding that the dirt on the waterways also attributed the tragedy.
Farah Dagogo, representing Degema Constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly, said the boat accident was “a huge tragedy.”
He said: “It is more painful that majority of lives lost in the boat accident were in their prime. They would have contributed immensely to the development and growth of Degema and Rivers State.”
However, Nnamdi Omoni, the state police public relations officer, insisted that one person died in the accident and not six. He added that Blackson might have died of exhaustion after rescuing more than 12 persons.
Omoni said: “The report we got from the police in that area was that only one person died. Also, the man that died had rescued more than 12 persons and could have died out of exhaustion. They were 24 and 23 were rescued. The only person that died has been found and he was buried the day he was found.”
NAIJ.com previously reported that no fewer than six people were killed on Saturday, July 28 when a passenger boat capsized along the Abonnema-Bakana waterways in Degema, Rivers state.
The boat was conveying 25 passengers from Abonnema wharf to Bakana before the accident happened. A source who spoke on condition of anonymity stated that 19 persons had been rescued while six passengers were feared dead.
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