Disaster struck in Ekiti State Wednesday evening when four members of a World Bank assessment team on assignment drowned at Egbe Dam located in Egbe Ekiti in Gbonyin Local Government.
Among the four who died in the incident was a son of a contractor to the World Bank whose father was one of the survivors. They were said to have commenced work at the site on Tuesday before tragedy struck on Wednesday.
The incident which three other members of the team survived had thrown the serene community into mourning.
Sources told our reporter on Thursday that the team members came from Development Dams and Irrigation Scheme in Kaduna State to carry out an assessment of the dam which had long been overdue for turnaround maintenance.
Their boat was said to have capsized while they were sailing from one end of the dam to the other. Sources revealed that the small boat which could conveniently take four persons was overloaded with seven on board.
According to the sources, the four victims who died in the incident did not wear life jackets while the three others who wore survived the disaster.
The bodies of the victims were recovered by local fishermen mobilised to the scheme by Gbonyin Local Government Council Chairman, Mrs. Sade Akinrinmola.
The council boss told reporters on telephone that he had contacted the community’s monarch, the Owa Egbe, Oba Ayodele Ige Olokesusi, on the tragic incident.
Describing the incident as “unfortunate”, Mrs. Akinrinmola disclosed that the bodies of the victims have been deposited at the General Hospital, Ode Ekiti, headquarters of the council area.
She said: “We immediately mobilised a rescue team and an ambulance and those wearing life jackets were rescued. The rescued people were the ones who told us that others were in the water. Their bodies were later retrieved by the local fishermen.
“We believe that they (the victims) were there based on some of the proposals we had written on the dam and how it could be put to use and we believe that the World Bank had started work on the river based on the calls.”
Police spokesman Alberto Adeyemi confirmed the incident which he said was still under investigation.
Adeyemi said: “They must have come from the Federal Ministry because dams are owned by the Federal Government. It is true that their boat capsized, four of them died while three survived.”