By Kemi Akintokun
The Navy Sailing Club, Ojo, Lagos, on Sunday said one of its sailors, Popti Emmanuel Dennis, died in an accident at the Club’s waterfront.
The Club, in a statement, said the unfortunate demise of Dennis, who was a former national athlete, occured on Nov. 28, when he was test running his Laser boat at the club’s waterfront.
The statement said that his boat capsised, but other sailors thought it was the usual drill of going underwater to bring his boat up, but sadly, he didn’t come up again.
It said divers on ground were immediately sent in for a search and rescue operation, but they returned several hours later without him after combing underwater.
Tunde Giwa-Daramola, the Club’s Commodore, while reacting to the incident, said the deceased was committed to the sport and had contributed to the development of water sports in Nigeria by encouraging other athletes and officers.
Giwa-Daramola noted that the Club was known for its high safety standards.
“Our heart goes out to his family for this irreparable loss. Popti was one of our best athletes in sailing.
“He had represented Nigeria at the All Africa Games and the Navy in several regattas internationally.
“He will be missed greatly by the club and young sailors that he has introduced to the sport.
“As a club, we are deeply saddened by this incident. All swimming and water activities are suspended until further notice,” he said.
Giwa-Daramola said that the Nigerian Navy Command had been notified of the incident and the Club had also set up a board of inquiry to determine the cause of the incident and how to avoid future occurrence.
The Commodore said the club’s flag would be flown at half mast for three days in honour of the athlete who just returned from a tour of duty. (NAN)