Two survivors in Nigeria boat sinking from 128 on board

Only two survivors have been found so far after a boat capsized off Nigeria with an estimated 128 people on board, emergency officials said on Wednesday.

"One hundred twenty-eight people were suspected to be aboard the boat, but only nine bodies have been recovered, while there were two survivors so far," Yushau Shuaib, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, told AFP.

He said the sinking occurred about two or three days ago some 40 miles (60 kilometres) off the coast of the southern city of Calabar, but that there was still some confusion about the origin of the boat.

Shuaib said he had been informed that the two survivors were rescued on Monday, but that their conditions so far had prevented authorities from speaking to them in detail.

There were indications that the boat had originated from Congo-Brazzaville, but that has not been confirmed, he said, without giving further details.

Such accidents at sea occur regularly in parts of Africa, with rickety boats often overloaded with passengers and few reliable records of who was aboard.

A rescue source speaking on condition of anonymity said initial indications were that the two survivors were Togolese.

A spokesman for the emergency management agency in Cross River state, where Calabar is located, said the wreckage of the boat had not yet been located.

The survivors were rescued by a patrol team from Addax Petroleum, a Chinese company which has operations in the oil-rich country, said the spokesman, David Akate.

The survivors are "yet to be stabilised," he said, but could not give further specifics on their condition.

Akate also said the boat had an estimated 128 passengers and that nine bodies had been recovered.

"We are still collating information on the mishap because it happened on the high seas," he said.

"We have not been able to get information as to where the boat took off from, where it was going and the type of boat. The accident happened at the weekend and the rescue operation started on Sunday."

In July 2012, a ferry sank in choppy waters as it crossed from mainland Tanzania to the island of Zanzibar, leaving at least 104 people drowned. Zanzibar authorities charged three people with manslaughter over the sinking of the ship, the MV Skagit, including its owner and captain.

In September 2011, more than 200 people perished when the MV Spice Islander, which the authorities admitted was overloaded, sank while sailing between two of the main islands in the Zanzibar archipelago. Rescue workers saved 619 passengers.

At least 50 people drowned and some 35 were reported missing after a boat accident on a river in the northwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo in July 2011.

  • Popular hot yoga myths debunked 5 hours ago
    Popular hot yoga myths debunked

    What’s the hottest new workout taking the world by storm? That would be hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga. Conducted in a heated room with sweltering temperatures of about 40°C (or approximately 104° Fahrenheit) and 40 per cent humidity, … Continue reading →

  • Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report 5 hours ago
    Thursday #sgroundup: Body found of boy who made first call from Korea ferry: report

    Here are today’s top trending stories in case you missed them.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 17 hours ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern
    Photo of a very thin Lee Kuan Yew sparks concern

    A new picture of Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who is now 90 years old, has drawn concern from people on Singapore's internet space.

  • Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls
    Waste oil collector struggles after STOMP posts, receives help from kind souls

    After being photographed at work in Jurong pooling used oil near coffee shops, 50-year-old Valerie Sim has been struggling to keep her family afloat. Web portals STOMP and The Real Singapore published pictures of her in February, triggering a witch hunt for others like her and comments from readers like “Who knows if they’ll use it as cooking oil?” Some readers also said they filed police reports against her and other people they believed were doing the same thing she was.

  • Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake
    Indonesian general says his flashy watch is a fake

    JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's military commander said critics who called him out for wearing an especially luxurious watch should be quiet because the timepiece is actually a cheap Chinese fake.