The search for bodies of three people who drowned in River Nile on Sunday in Obongi County in Moyo District continues this morning following unsuccessful attempt to find the bodies on Monday.
The trio drowned when their boat locally known as “Bawo Tatu” capsized at around 8pm on Sunday evening as they were rowing from Adjumani landing site to Sinyanya in Obongi County. The deceased have been identified as Isaac Ochen, an employee of Obongi ferry, Charles Ambayo, a driver with a Non-Governmental Organisation in Obongi and unidentified boda boda rider from Adjumani.
The fourth traveller only identified as Drate survived the accident as he swam on to a water hyacinth bed. Mr Musa Taban, the Gombolola Internal Security Officer Obongi, says Ocen was returning to work from leave in Eastern Uganda. He explains that upon his arrival in Adjumani, Ocen picked a boda boda rider to take him to the ferry but found that it had already docked on the Obongi side.
According to Taban, Ocen called his workmates to pick him up but they turned down his request prompting him to use a local boat to cross to Obongi. He explains that the boat that was meant for three people was made to carry four people and a motorbike amidst the heavy evening down pour.
Taban explains that the incident went unnoticed because the survivor stayed on the water hyacinth bed until early morning when fishermen came to his rescue.
“People were immediately mobilized and a search was launched for the three bodies throughout today (Monday) but none of them was found,” he added.
The Obongi County, MP Hassan Kaps Fungaroo who was in the constituency at the time of the accident blamed the ferry management for being rigid and refusing to pick up their colleague, who asked for their help.
“The ferry management should be left in the hands of the people on the ground; we are being managed from Kampala! I have sometimes received complaints from people accusing the ferry operators of demanding for money,” Mr Fungaroo said.
He said the route has become very busy because of the refugees and that people should be allowed to move freely to avoid such incidences. The Moyo LC V Chairperson, Williams Anyama declined to comment, saying he was expecting a report from the Regional Police Commander North Nile about the incident.
Several boats ply the Obongi-Adjumani route on river Nile. However, both the travelers and operators venture into the river without life jackets.