76 Bodies Recovered, Dozens Missing After Boat Capsizes In Nigeria

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An overcrowded riverboat sank in the northwestern Nigerian state of Kebbi leaving a trail of death and uncertainty. 76 bodies were recovered and dozens more are believed to be missing, authorities said Thursday.

A wooden boat ferrying around 180 people overturned on Wednesday, according to Reuters. “Bodies are still being recovered. We can’t ascertain the number for now,” Yahaya Sarki, a spokesman for the governor of Kebbi, said.

As of Thursday, officials said they had recovered 76 dead bodies, and at least 20 people were rescued, Al Jazeera reported. Nigerian rescue groups managed to pull additional 25 survivors out of the river Thursday, the report said.

The boat was reportedly overloaded with people and carried bags of sand from a newly-discovered gold mine, which is where workers were returning from when the tragedy unfolded, according to Al Jazeera. (RELATED: Nearly 300 Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolgirls Released)

“They usually go there in the evenings and return to Wara in the morning. Most of them are petty traders, food vendors and the local miners,” Qasimu Umar Wara, a local resident, said.