At least eight people drowned in northern Nigeria when a canoe ferrying traders capsized and panicked passengers in another boat jumped into the river, a government official said Thursday.
The first canoe was carrying traders to a local market in Jahun district of Jigawa state when it tipped over after hitting an obstacle in the water, said the local government chairman, Ibrahim Mu'azu.
He said the accident frightened passengers in another canoe trailing behind who jumped into the river to escape possible capsize.
"So far eight dead bodies were pulled out of the river while another eight were rescued by local divers," Mu'azu told AFP of the accident which happened on Wednesday.
"(The) search for more bodies is on because we don't have an exact number of people in the two canoes and the general feeling is that more bodies are still in the river," he added.
Boat accidents are common in waterfront communities in Nigeria due largely to lack of safety standards and poor maintenance of boats.
Last month, seven people died when a passenger boat capsized after hitting an object in the port city of Lagos in the southwest.