A ferry hit a bridge in eastern Nigeria (search) and capsized, and authorities said Saturday they believed dozens were dead.

Fifty of the up to 100 people aboard were rescued after the accident Tuesday, said Aminu Abah, a spokesman for the eastern state of Ademawa (search).

The ferry had been traveling from the town of Neman on the Benue River (search). It hit a pillar of the Neman bridge and sank, Abah said.

News of the accident in the remote region reached Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos (search), only Saturday.

Ferry accidents with high death tolls are frequent in Africa, and overcrowding and poor maintenance often play a part. There was no immediate indication of either in Tuesday's sinking.