Thirty-seven people of different nationalities were evacuated Tuesday morning from the Sarpant islet off the coast of Dakar, Senegal, where they had spent the night after their canoe capsized, drowning killing four of its passengers.By Ibrahima Dione
All the victims of the boat tragedy, which occurred around 8:00 pm on Monday near the Sarpant islet (6.2 km from Dakar), are of Senegalese citizenship, including two national park rangers.
A total of 41 passengers, mostly tourists, had been on the canoe and, according to the private newspaper L’Observateur, quoting Lt. Col. Michel Diatta of the Fire Brigade, its capsize was caused by rain that had lashed the Senegalese capital and its surroundings for several hour on Monday evening.
Among the passengers, there were more than 20 Senegalese, six French, two Germans, two Swedes and one Guinea Bissau national.
Informed of the disaster, President Macky Sall went to the nearby Soumbedioune landing site to monitor the relief operations, issuing instructions to Interior Minister, Aly Ngouille Ndiaye.
Fisheries Minister, Aminata Mbengue Ndiaye, her colleague of the Armed Forces, Sidiki Kaba, State Ombudsman Alioune Badara Cisse, and the Prefect of Dakar were seen at the same site.
The Sarpant islet, which is part of the Madeleine Islands, is located a stone’s throw from the Soumbedioune beach.
Companies including Hertz Loisirs, owned by Aime Sene frequently organize pleasure trips for guests wishing to admire the luxuriant biodiversity of the area, which is a protected site.