Seven members of the National Youth Service Corps have drowned in a river southeast of Taraba State, with two others feared dead, police have said.
The corps members were on a swimming expedition in River Mayo-Selbe, a major tributary of the Benue River, when a water surge from a nearby mountain collapsed on them and swept them into the massive river, Taraba police commissioner David Akinremi said on Monday morning.
“There were 22 corpers who went on a picnic at a waterfall that has a river bellow, there was a surge of water from the top of the mountain that swept them away,” Mr Akinremi said.
The incident occurred in Gashaka Local Government Area, where all the corps members affected were posted to serve.
Several news reports cited Taraba State NYSC coordinator as confirming the attack on Sunday.
Mr Akinremi told online newspaper that 14 corps members were initially blown away by the heavy gush, but five of them were rescued before it was too late.
Seven bodies, comprising two females and five males, were recovered between Saturday and Sunday, Mr Akinremi said. Search and rescue efforts are still underway for the remaining two as at Monday morning, but the police feared they were already dead.
“It is a very unfortunate situation,” Mr Akinremi said, while condoling with the families of the deceased.
It was not immediately clear whether any investigation would be conducted, but the police suggested the area might not be safe for picnic for the rest of the raining season.