At least 20 people were killed after an overloaded passenger boat capsized in southern Nigeria, officials said.

The wooden boat, with over 40 people aboard, was travelling from Eagle Island to Mgbuodohia of Rivers state in the Niger Delta, when it went under water on Tuesday night, they said.

Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman Yushua Shuaib said 20 bodies have been recovered so far and three people rescued alive, including a child and a pregnant woman who delivered on Wednesday.

The search operation had to be halted for some time overnight due to the darkness, a rescue official said, adding it would continue in the day.

A spokesman for the state’s police command, Ben Ugbuegbulam confirmed the toll.

Members of the local community joined the rescue workers, eyewitnesses said, adding the boat was overburdened and some passengers were even standing.

The boat was the only reliable means of transport to Harcourt, the main city in the area, because of the poor condition of roads, an official said.

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