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Thursday, 5 April 2018

TRAGIC!!! Three dead, six injured as concrete road sign falls on bus

Nigeria - Three persons were  killed and six injured yesterday  in an accident at Ilasamaja Bus Stop on Oshodi-Apapa Expressway in Lagos.
•LASEMA Response Unit officials rescuing an injured man...yesterday. RIGHT: An unconscious person being revived by a sympathiser. PHOTOS: TAJUDEEN ADEBANJO
A worker of Makasa Sun Nigeria Limited, a civil engineering construction firm,  identified as Odejayi Adebola, and a  Ladipo Auto Spare Parts Market trader were among the dead.

The accident occurred when the open-box bed of an empty truck marked MEK 695 XA hit a concrete signpost, which fell on a commercial Coaster bus coming behind it. The vehicles were heading for  Oshodi from Mile 2.
The bus was loading passengers at the bus stop. The conductors’s legs were broken, but the driver was uninjured.
The truck was said to be  speeding when the accident happened around 8a.m. The  driver has been arrested. He was said to have been cautioned after Cele Bus stop to bring down the truck’s crane, but he refused.
It was a moving scene, with many of the  passengers either dead or writhing in pains. Some broke their limbs; one of them was said to have broken his spinal cord.
One of the dead was said to have called his office to inform them of the accident before he died.
Sympathisers claimed that help did not come on time for the victims.
Traffic was at a stand still for about three hours after the crash because of the crowd that thronged the scene. The police, officials of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Lagos Neighbourhood Corps (LNC) and Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), among others, were at the scene.
Ilasamaja Police Station operatives took the truck away.
An official of LNC was injured in the forehead while trying to disperse the crowd to facilitate rescue work.
LASAMBUS officials gave the injured first aid, including drip and oxygen for those in critical condition.
The Nation led a LASAMBUS vehicle with two injured victims to Mushin General Hospital at Oliyide Street, but some medical workers rejected them.
“We do not have the specialists to handle these people. One had a fracture; another had a spinal cord injury. I advised that you take them to Igbobi (National Orthopaedic Hospital) because LUTH (Lagos University Teaching Hospital) will demand for money before commencing treatment’’.
The LASAMBUS officials then took them to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) at Ikeja.
An eye witness, Mrs Bolanle Mobolomope, a trader in  told The Nation that many people were critically injured.
“I was here in my shop when the accident happened. I saw the truck with the open-box bed up, coming on a high speed, it hit the overhead sign post, which fell on the Coaster bus. When I saw people lying dead on the road, I saw people with broken legs, head and hands; I could not withstand it, I just ran to the back side of my shop and I was crying.”
A trader, Chidozie Onuaguluchi, said the truck was used in carrying stone and sand.
“Though it was empty; the back of the truck was lifted up and it hit the overhead signpost, which fell on the Coaster bus. The Coaster bus was loaded with people, basically market women and their pepper, which they were going to sell in either Ojota or Oshodi. Many people died on the spot and others that sustained injuries were taken to the hospital.”
He added that many thieves were at the scene, pretending to be rescuing victims, but were there to pick people’s pockets. He said people rushed to pick the money that littered the scene.
“I don’t have the mind to pick such money; the money must have either fallen from the ‘pick pocket’ people or from the accident victims.”
Another trader, Nkechukwu Ama, said the open-box bed of the truck had been opened from Apapa, adding that while the truck was approaching Ilasamaja, many people were shouting at the truck driver to bring down the box bed but he did not hear.
He said: “What we heard was a loud bang; the overhead sign post had fallen on the Coaster bus which was behind the truck. Some of the passengers are traders. Some men were also in the bus. Three people died. Many were injured.
“The driver of the Coaster bus disappeared but his conductor had broken legs. Since the accident happened around 8am, the whole road was not cleared until around noon, the traffic was much.”
Obiora Obi, a fashion designer,  said he and those around trooped to the road on hearing  the loud bang.
“When we got there, we saw crowd, I saw the overhead sign post on top of the bus, many of us tried to raise the directional sign, which is made of concrete, but we could not lift it, it was too heavy; there was nothing we could do to rescue the victims until the emergency responders came,” he said.
Olanike Faidat said she saw three bodies on the floor. She urged the government to stop trucks from working during the day.
“They should be made to work only at midnight to prevent avoidable deaths,” she said.
Igwe Udu said he saw he box bed of the truck open, adding that he was thinking that it would either hit the directional sign or the pedestrian bridge when the accident occurred.
“While I was thinking, the truck had hit the overhead signpost and it was on top of the Coaster bus coming behind it. The driver of the bus disappeared because we did not see him again. I saw blood on the roadside; I saw broken hands and legs.”
In a statement, LASEMA said “the agency’s response team received a distress call at about 8.26am by Ilasamaja Bus Stop. Preliminary investigation carried out by the LASEMA Response Team at the scene of the incident revealed that an empty lorry truck (Iveco) marked MEK 695 XA hit an overhead sign post which subsequently fell on a commercial Coaster bus coming behind it.
“Unfortunately, seven victims (four women and three men) with severe injuries were rescued and stabilised by the agency’s officials and LASAMBUS and were subsequently transferred to Mushin General Hospital for further treatment, while three men lost their lives.”
All efforts to get the State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU) to convey the dead to mortuary failed.
A LRU official said: “The SEHMU are not forthcoming. I’ve called them several times but they are not here since an hour ago.”
Pressure was mounted on LRU staff to open the road for motorists, but the agency declined, claiming : “we are waiting for SEHMU to take the corpse to the mortuary.”
Officials of Makasa Sun Nigeria Limited later came with a vehicle to take their colleague away.
LASEMA General Manager Adesina Tiamiyu urged motorists to ensure they drive within the approved speed limit, and also watch out for road signs and other impediments to avoid fatal crashes.

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