At least two people have died after their boat capsized in the Sapu River during an overnight crossing in the Central River Region, authorities have confirmed.
Momodou Salieu Krubally, 74, and Alhagie Momodou Mballow, 72, from Kerewan Samba Sira in the Lower Fulladou West District, drowned after they got pinned under their boat.
The incident happened in the wee hours of the morning, about 2 a.m., according to local residents. Their bodies have been recovered by authorities with the help of villagers some two days after the incident was reported.
The men went out fishing when the incident happened. Fishermen in the Gambia’s hinterland are not equipped with protective gears such as life vests.
Many in Fula Bantang, the region of the country where the Sapu rice farms are found, use the river to cross into neighboring towns, mostly in the northern part of the Central River Region, through the River Gambia.
Many use makeshift boats and uninspected canoes to cross the river in The Gambia. Such boats for transport are often overloaded and safety measures are not up to standards. They are not recommended for long journeys by authorities.