Over 80 persons were roasted to death in multiple accidents involving a trailer, tanker, luxury bus and other vehicles at Ugbogui Village, near Ofosu at about 1.30pm.
Among the dead in the accident are the driver of the trailer, his assistant and 57 passengers in the luxury bus and occupants of other vehicles affected. Three passengers of the luxury bus, who survived the accident, were badly burnt.
According to eyewitness, the accident occurred when a cement-laden trailer reportedly had a burst tyre and rammed into a petrol tanker carrying fuel. The fuel tanker had hit a fully loaded luxury bus, which burst into flames.
It was gathered that the spillage of petrol on the road had set other vehicles on fire, including commercial and private cars. About 20 other vehicles were burnt in the process. At the accident scene, there were charred bodies of the passengers in the carcass of the burnt luxury bus and other vehicles.
The accident had caused a heavy traffic jam, as personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) stopped vehicular movement on both sides of the expressway to avoid further disaster.
Confirming the story, an official of FRSC, who pleaded anonymity, explained that the trailer was coming from Lagos, while the tanker and luxury bus were travelling in the opposite direction. FRSC personnel and the police had mounted rescue operation at the scene of the accident. The injured were taken to a nearby hospital, while the road was being cleared to create a thoroughfare for vehicles. Also, firefighters, who later arrived the scene of the accident, battled to put out the fire caused by the explosion of the tanker.
A passenger, who was travelling to Lagos from the East, said they were stuck in traffic for close to four hours because of the accident.
“We were in one spot for about four hours. Movement on both sides of the road was stopped by FRSC. We had to make a detour through a bush path, through villages to cross the scene of accident,” he said.
The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has promised to soon publish the names of victims of yesterday’s multiple crash that along Benin-Ore Expressway that claimed scores of lives.
“We will soon publish the names, but just waiting to be sure that the relations of the victims get to know first,” said Dr. Kayode Olagunju, a top official of the FRSC.
However, the FRSC has put the death toll at 36.
A statement issued late Friday by the FRSC headquarters in Abuja, Jonas Agwu, Corps Commander, Corps Public Education Officer, on behalf of Corps Marshal and Chief Executive Osita Chidoka, said:
“36 persons were feared dead this afternoon in a multiple fatal crash at Igbogui market along the Ore – Benin highway which involved a Dangote truck, a tanker laden with pms (fuel) and a luxury bus belonging to the Young Shall Grow Transport Company.
“Preliminary reports from the FRSC indicated that a tyre from the Dangote truck suddenly pulled out and rammed into the Tanker which caught fire immediately. The Luxury bus which was on speed, lost control and ran into the blazing fire, consuming its occupants.
“However, an FRSC team was on hand to rescue 3 passengers while 30 others died from the Luxury bus. The Tanker driver with his conductor, in addition to the Truck driver and his conductor were also confirmed dead. Two children were also consumed by the fire which spread to a nearby mechanic workshop, burning 8 additional vehicles resulting to a heavy traffic gridlock.
“Meanwhile, a detachment of the FRSC, Police and the Construction Company were at the scene for intensive traffic control and diversion of route to ensure seamless traffic flow along the corridor.”
The statement disclosed that the commission had contacted Young Shall Grow transport company “to ascertain from its manifest, the 30 persons that boarded the bus earlier in the day from the Jibowu terminus to Enugu.”
The FRSC vowed to henceforth prosecute drivers and companies whose vehicles cause such accidents.
“Disturbed by the recent spate of road crash fatalities linked to speeding and reckless driving, the Federal Road Safety Corps has concluded plans to evoke its statutory mandate by instituting legal actions against the driver and transport operators whose vehicles are responsible for such crashes. Part of this arrangement include the Corps’ resolve to assist victims and relations of road crash victims to seek compensation from such fleet operators,” the statement concluded.