Three killed, seven injured as sign pole falls on vehicle
Three persons were killed instantly with many injured when a bucket of a truck carrying granite stones pulled off and hit a signpost pole, which fell on a commercial bus yesterday at about 8:00a.m. at Ilasa bus-stop, on Apapa-Oshodi expressway.
The Guardian gathered that the driver of the truck was returning from Mile 2, where he went to offload the granite, when its bucket pulled off in motion. According to an eyewitness, Mr. John Chigozie, the truck was coming on top speed when suddenly its bucket pulled off. Some commercial bus drivers tried to call the driver’s attention to it but he did not stop.
“Immediately the truck driver got to the signpost at the bus-stop, the truck bucket pulled off, hitting the pole holding the signpost, which suddenly fell on the coaster bus that was waiting to pick passengers. Three persons died on the spot. It was a terrible accident. Those of us who were at the bus stop in the morning rushed to the scene to rescue the victims but we could not pull off the pole on top of the bus.
“Some of the passengers trapped under the vehicle were seriously calling for help. We tried every means, but we couldn’t until the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) came with their crane and removed the pole from the mangled bus,” he said.
Another eyewitness, who gave her name as Joy, said one of the victims died few minutes after he phone his company that he is involved in a terrible accident. “Before his colleagues from his office came, he was already dead. It was painful. A woman who broke her spinal cord also died, including a student of Command Secondary School at Army Resettlement Centre in Oshodi.”
She added that the tragedy would have been averted if the truck driver had heeded the warnings of the passing vehicles to stop. She said after offloading sand around Mile 2, the driver failed to bring down the hydraulic rams of the truck, allowing the bucket to stay up even after being warned of the danger of doing so.
Spokesman of LASEMA, Kehinde Adebayo, who was at the scene said: “The agency received a distress call via its emergency toll free line 112/767 at 8:26a.m. by Ilasamaja bus-stop inward Oshodi. Preliminary investigation revealed that an empty lorry truck (Iveco) with registration number MEK 695 XA hit an overhead signpost, which subsequently fell on a commercial coaster bus.
“Unfortunately, seven victims (four adult females and three adult males) with severe injuries were rescued and stabilised by LASAMBUS and subsequently transferred to Mushin General Hospital for further treatment, while three adult males lost their lives and were handed over to officials of the State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU) to be transferred to the mortuary.”
Onlookers said the truck driver fled the scene immediately after the accident, abandoning the truck. The affected vehicles were removed from the scene at 9:04a.m. The accident resulted in a heavy traffic, which lasted for several hours and stretched beyond Ijesha bus-stop on the busy highway, leaving commuters stranded at various bus stops, and some trekking long distances to get to their destination.
However, there were some differences in the casualty figures. Though LASEMA said three persons died, eyewitnesses claimed seven people were brought out dead from the bus while in a chat with The Guardian, the Deputy Corps Officer of the Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps (LNSC), Mushin, Azeez, gave the figure as five. He said: “We got a distress call this morning from our link officer in Ward D that there was an accident at Ilasa and some people died. We got here and we met five casualties, with many injured and rushed to the hospital, two bodies taken away already while we were still waiting for an ambulance to take the other three bodies and one person in critical condition.