Soldier drowns in Bayelsa boat accident

An unidentified soldier attached  to the Joint Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, has died in a boat accident in Bayelsa State.

The unnamed soldier, said to be escorting oil officials from a spill site, reportedly drowned and died at Taylor Creek near an oilfield operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company in Okordia area of Yenagoa.

A community source, who craved anonymity, said the incident occurred on Thursday evening.

The source said that the soldier was on an escort duty and drowned when a boat conveying oil workers across the Taylor Creek capsized.

He said, “The boat conveying the crew from Agip’s field capsized on their way back from the site at the oilfield across and before help could come the soldier had drowned and died.

“They were using a hand paddled canoe to cross the workers one at a time.

“The soldier was washing his boots when water entered the boat and it capsized. His rifle fell into the creek when the other members of the crew had crossed and waiting for him to cross.”

The source said that the attention of the fishermen operating in the creeks were drawn to the soldier and the canoe driver of the boat, saying that the time the fishermen arrived, the soldier had died and could not be rescued.

It was learnt that officials of NAOC, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, and oil workers were returning from an assessment visit to an oil leak site when the incident occurred on Thursday.

The Youth President, Kalaba community in Okordia, Samuel Oburo, said the rifle of the dead soldier was recovered  by local divers on Friday.

Oburo said, “Some soldiers from Elele barracks came around after the remains of the soldier was recovered and asked me to mobilise local divers in search of the riffle of the soldier.

“We went in search of the gun and we recovered the riffle and handed it over to them, later in the day another senior officer came to show appreciation to the community.”

Spokesman for the OPS, Col. Isa Ado, could not be reached on the telephone for comments on the incident, neither did he respond to text message sent to his phone.

Eni, parent company of NAOC, has yet to respond to an email seeking a response on the incident.

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