Friday, 17 February 2017

[NG]Three killed, 23 injured as luxury bus plunges into Lagos river

Three persons, including a driver, Sidi Abudu, 40, yesterday lost their lives  after an interstate luxury bus in which they were travelling  plunged into the Majidun River, Ikorodu, Lagos State.

59 people were on board the ill-fated  bus which had taken off from Aba,Abia State for Lagos on Thursday evening.

It had travelled all night stopping over in Benin,Edo State to pick more passengers.

However,on the Majidun River bridge at Owode Elede, about 30 minutes from its Mazamaza,Lagos,final destination, the bus unexpectedly took a plunge  into the depth of the water below.

Time was about 3.30am
Some of the passengers were able to swim their way out of danger immediately, while officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency  (LASEMA)  who raced to the scene succeeded in rescuing the rest, save the three that died.

 Dead were  Abudu, the conductor  of the bus and a female passenger.

 The accident sparked a  gridlock on the road as motorists and commuters set out to go about their businesses.

LASEMA attributed the accident to overspeeding.

  General Manger of the organisation,Mr.Adesina Tiamiyu, said: “The bus skidded off its track, while on high speed and plunged into the canal.

“Of the 59 passengers onboard, 23 persons sustained injuries. Some of them were treated on the spot by paramedics from LASAMBUS, but nine persons were taken to the Lagos State Trauma Centre, Toll Gate, for further treatment.

“Then three persons, including two adult males and a female,were recovered dead from the water. The bus was also recovered with the help of a crane.
“The rescue team handed over the dead bodies, their belongings and the recovered bus to policemen at Owode Division.

“Proper investigation would be conducted on the incident. Motorists are advised to be safety conscious and avoid excessive speeding while driving, especially when embarking on night journeys.”

 Abudu, The Nation gathered, had gone to Benin, Edo State on Thursday to deliver a vehicle before joining the ill-fated bus to Lagos.

His elder brother, Abu, who was invited to identify  his corpse was in tears as he recounted how Abudu met his death.

His words: “I don’t know what to say. My younger brother left Lagos yesterday (Thursday) to drop a vehicle in Benin.

“He was  a driver by profession. He called me when he arrived Benin and said he was returning to Lagos that same night only for me to get a call that there was an accident.

“ I came here only to see my brother inside a bag. He died in the accident. My brother is dead.

“Yes, he’s married with five children. The eldest is about 14 years, while the youngest is a year plus. He lived at Okokomaiko, but no one is in the house now.”

One of the lucky survivors  identified only as Nnamdi said the accident happened in the twinkle of an eye.

“The journey was smooth. In fact, some of us were even cracking jokes.The accident happened in the twinkle of an eye. We started crying for help, but no one came to us. After over one hour, I began to lose hope,” online publication,The Cable, quoted him as saying.

He added:”Some of us were praying, some were just crying. I got confused and didn’t know what to do. It was when it almost got to two hours that some men came to rescue us. At that time, three people had died.”

Nnamdi,a trader on Lagos Island , said he boarded the bus in Benin in Edo State.

 ”I just don’t know what to say. Where would I have been by now? It’s still like a dream,” he told The Cable,” he said.

 One  Samuel Edeh,  who operates an engineering workshop close to the scene of the accident, said several accidents have occurred on that same court .

He said: “The driver told us that the vehicle brushed the  pavement so he was trying to control the steering, but he couldn’t. He lost control and the bus plunged  into the river.”

Another resident of the area, Abdu-Ganiu Adeyemi, who has a welder’s shop on the bank of the river, corroborated Edeh’s view,saying:”I have been here for two years and I can confidently state that these accidents have been rampant on this junction.”

However, an  official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) dismissed the claims as untrue.

The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said:”I don’t see any justification in the insinuations the residents are making. It’s true that the beckoning light, which ought to flash to indicate that there is a partitioning, has been wiped off, but the residents are a party to it.

“Let’s assume it is the absence of the reflector that is responsible for people not seeing the pointer, showing that there is a separation at that point,  but essentially, there is a speed limit that anybody driving on this road  should take cognizance of and thus drive with caution.

“What we were able to deduce from the accident is that it was as a result of   reckless driving. The driver was evidently overspeeding. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have uprooted one of the traffic lights off its track.That says something about the driver’s speed”.

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