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One Dies As Ferry Spends Over 13hrs In Waters, Ports PRO Confirms 

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Scenes at Ferry Yesterday Night.

By Buba Gagigo

Yankuba Manneh, Media and communications officer at the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) have confirmed to Kerr Fatou the death of one Alagie Sarr after the ferry got stuck in the river for more than 13 hours.

Alagie Sarr, a native of Madina Serign Mass, was in an ambulance to Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH). He was confirmed dead by his accompanying nurse after the ferry got stuck in the river for hours.

“We can confirm to you that there was an ambulance on board the ferry and the name of the patient was Alagie Sarr, a native of Madina Serign Mass. The Ambulance boards the ferry at around 7: 30pm. The nurse in attendance that was accompanying the patient to Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) confirmed the death of Mr. Sarr at 8:15 pm. So that is 34mins or 40mins after boarding when Alagie Sarr was pronounced dead by the nurse. The patient who is now late was in a highly critical condition at the time of crossing, but as a company, we are deeply sorry, we regret over this, that somebody has to die on board the ferry.” Yankuba Manneh, Media and communication office at GPA told Kerr Fatou on Monday.

Asked why the ferry got stuck in the river for hours, the ports PRO said the problem was caused by low tides and a fishing net that got entangled in the ferry’s engine;

“The Kunta kinteh Ferry got loaded at Barra around 7 pm, it was fully loaded and wanted to seal off to Banjul. But there was low tide in the area at that time. As such when the ferry attempted to move, the conditions were terrible. The ferry got stuck at the Terminal itself. The side that drifted towards the sand got stuck but then the ferry was at the landing side. 

“The captain tried to secure the landing properly and to enable the in and out movement of passengers. But also what precipitated this problem was, the ferry was entangled by a fishing net. This fishing net that entangled the engine of the ferry underneath made the ferry less powerful to seal itself. It reduces the speed of the ferry and power of the ferry. And that’s why the ferry could not free itself from that stuck,” he explained.

Mr. Saidy said attempts were made to solve the problem but all were futile, so they had to leave the ferry there until high tides;

“Attempts were made, the captain of the ferry came down to check underneath and realized that it was entangled by a fishing net reducing the speed of the ferry. The captain struggled underwater to make sure that he disentangle the engine but all efforts were futile, so we had to leave the ferry there until high tide, which was around 8 am to 9 am this morning when there was high tide, the ferry naturally float itself,” he explained.

The Public Relation officer of Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) Jally Morry Njie said the dead body didn’t arrive at the hospital;

“I asked my people but they said they didn’t see any dead body in an ambulance” 

One of the eyewitnesses who spent the night on the ferry told Kerr Fatou “It was very serious yesterday because there were two ambulances on the ferry. The ambulance had to wait two hours before boarding the ferry because they said they wanted to give space to the VIP vehicles. The ferry had a breakdown at 7 pm and we were on-board the ferry until today at 8 am. That resulted in the patient in the ambulance passing away. It was difficult for all of us because there was no food, and there were pregnant women and children.”

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