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Five burnt to death, 14 injured in Ondo road crash

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• Woman burnt with baby in Onitsha fire was childless for 16 years, says eyewitness
• Three more bodies recovered from shops in Anambra commercial city

Five persons have died in a road carnage on Thursday evening along Benin-Owo expressway in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State. The accident also left 14 persons with serious injuries in the accident, which involved a Toyota Hiace bus and a J5 bus coming from opposite directions.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Femi Joseph, who confirmed the accident said the incident happened at about 4:00p.m. He said the auto crash was caused by over-speeding on the part of the drivers of the two buses.

According to Joseph: “One of the buses with registration number MKD 341 XA carrying 18 passengers was coming from Lagos and heading to Markudi while the other one with registration number BDG 330 AP was coming from Benin and heading to Akure before the accident occurred.”

He said the two vehicles had a head-on collision and got burnt with the passengers on board. While warning drivers against high speed, especially during the ember months, the PPRO said the victims of the accident were taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo for treatment, while mangled bodies of the deceased have been deposited at the morgue of the hospital.

According to eyewitnesses, the accident happened at Oyoyo camp area of Ipele in Owo Local Government with the two vehicles going up in flames, which was attributed to wrongful overtaking.

Confirming the accident, the Head of Operations, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ondo Sector, Olusegun Ogungbemide, stated that the “Toyota bus with 18 passengers was coming From Lagos and was heading to Markurdi in Benue State while the J5 bus was coming from Benin was heading towards Owena in Osun State.

“On getting to Oyoyo camp mine, the two vehicles had a head collision. As a result the two vehicles were burnt beyond recognition. The names and addresses of the two drivers are yet unknown though 14 victims have been taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Owo for treatment. Five victims were burnt to ashes and the burnt vehicles have been removed from the highway to allow free flow traffic.”

Meanwhile, fresh facts have emerged over Wednesday’s fuel tanker explosion in Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra State. It was gathered yesterday that a woman, who lost her life in the tragic incident was said to have been childless for 16 years, until early this year, when she had a baby, who also died in the fire disaster.

Speaking with newsmen, one of the victims, Chukwuka Okeke, a neighbour to the woman, described the tragedy as unfortunate but avoidable. “The woman had already rushed out of the shop with her baby but she suddenly went back. She slipped off in the process and fell inside the gutter, which was already in flames.

“We were in our shops when I got the call that there was fire burning at Upper Iweka. Though, we saw smoke going up from a distance, nobody could believe it would extend to this place. For over three hours, we were perceiving the smell of petrol probably mixed with gas from a distance as it flowed through the drainage until the whole thing went up in flames.”

Okeke said the woman, whose husband also owns a shop in the city, just had the baby early this year after 16 years of marriage.

Meanwhile, three dead bodies of traders in the market were on Thursday recovered from shops that were gutted by the fire. Traders, who constituted themselves into rescue groups, discovered the dead bodies in shops at the Ochanja market.

One of the rescuers said he suspected two of the bodies which were girls were trapped when others ran away from the fire on Wednesday. He also added that another body of a man was recovered from another shop.

He said: “We also recovered the body of a young man in one shop. His body was not torched. We suspected he must have died of suffocation. The bodies of two salesgirls were discovered another one shop.”


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