By Christopher Oji
One person was killed and others injured after a truck laden with two 20feet containers fell on three vehicles at Cele bus-stop on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos, yesterday.
The deceased, who was driving a commercial bus with plate number AKD 489 XZ, died before help could come.
There were different accounts as to how tragedy struck. A version said that the driver of the commercial bus, identified simply as Ambrose, was driving against traffic when he collided with the truck that was coming from the opposite direction.
Another version said the truck, which was heading inward Mile 2, had a brake failure. In the driver’s bid to use the median as a wedge, the truck reportedly rammed into the commercial bus, which spined and faced the opposite direction.
But occupants of the two other vehicles : a Toyota Rav 4 with plate number AAA 353 FH and a Highlander SUV with plate number AGL 366 FP, escaped death by the whiskers.
A passenger, who narrowly escaped from the commercial bus narrated the incident, thus: “I can’t tell how it happened. I was reading my WhatsApp chats when I heard a noise from outside. By the time I raised my head, passengers were jumping out of the vehicle. I also realised that the commercial bus had been pinned to the median. I can’t tell how I managed to jump out through the passenger’s window.
“All I remembered was the driver telling me to move immediately, so he could come out through my side. By the time I came out, the container had landed.
“I was blank for sometime…”. But the conversation was interrupted by a woman who screamed “ ah, baba Wasiu, ewa ninu moto yi” (Baba Wasiu, so you were in the vehicle?)
The woman later introduced herself as his colleague. She instructed him not to speak again and walked him to the other side of the road where they entered a motorbike heading towards Mile 2.
Sympathisers immediately took over the expressway, preventing vehicles from moving towards the scene.
Thereafter, they contacted construction workers who were engaged in the ongoing construction of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, to help lift the containers from the commercial bus, in which the driver was still trapped.
A crane immediately came and lifted one of the containers. But it fell immediately on the commercial bus, thereby causing the driver who was earlier seen beckoning for help with his hand, to be motionless.
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu, who confirmed the incident in a statement, yesterday, said the truck driver lost control due to mechanical fault (brake failure) while at top speed and rammed into the vehicles ahead of it.
He said emergency responders, including officers of LASEMA and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) were deployed to the scene immediately just as the paramedics personnel, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) personnel, paramedics and the police were all present at the scene to render assistance and in the rescue operations.
The statement reads: “On arrival of the agency’s LRT at the scene, it was discovered that a multiple accident, involving a MACK truck with unknown registration number conveying twin 20ft containers, a Volkswagen bus with registration number AKD 489XZ, a Highlander SUV with registration number AGL 366FP and a Toyota RAV4 with registration number AAA 353FH was encountered at the above mentioned location.
“Further information gathered at the scene revealed that the truck driver lost control due to mechanical fault (brake failure), while at top speed, before ramming into the vehicles ahead of it.
“Unfortunately, an adult male (bus driver) lost his life to the incident, while the injured victims, four in number; three males and one female, have been transported to hospital. The agency’s LRT, FRSC, agency’s paramedics and NPF are the responders present at the scene.
“Recovery operation pending, as the atmosphere is charged with street urchins attacking people at the scene. However, the remains of the deceased have been bagged and handed over to the relatives. The agency has requested for police coverage to manage the safety of our first responders. Further updates to follow.”
Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed that one person died in the accident.