From PAUL OSUYI, Asaba
Five persons have so far been confirmed dead following a fatal multiple accident yesterday involving four vehicles on the Benin-Onitsha Expressway. Reports said 16 persons including 12 males and four females were in the vehicles at the time of the accident. Out of the 11 injured victims, who were rushed to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba, seven laid critical in the emergency section of the hospital, just as the other four with fractured bodies were also receiving medical attention.
The accident, which occurred at Abraka market in Asaba along the Expressway, involved a blue Dangote Sino Trailer with registration number SNK 77 XA. Other vehicles involved in the fatal crash included a white/green Iveco Truck marked Borno KWA 12 XA, a blue/white Mitsubishi L300 marked Anambra GDD 295 XA and a Nissan Quest marked Lagos DX 219 FST.
As at the time Daily Sun visited the scene officials of the Federal Road safety Corps (FRSC) had already evacuated the victims to FMC Asaba and the bags of cement which fell from the Dangote trailer on the road were arranged by the roadside. Public Relations Officer of the Delta State Command of the corps, Julius Bassey told Daily Sun that the accident occurred at about 7.30am when the Dangote Sino Trailer suddenly had brake failure and rammed into other vehicles. According to him, the road was immediately cleared of the obstruction, adding that the dead victims, who were all males had been deposited at the FMC Asaba mortuary.
The incident, caused a gridlock on the busy expressway for several hours as sympathisers thronged the scene to catch a glimpse of the remains of the Mitsubishi bus that was conveying passengers to Onitsha from Asaba when the accident occurred. An eyewitness account said that the trailer loaded with cement had hit the private Nissan Quest car before crushing the Mitsubishi bus against the Iveco Truck, which somersaulted off the road.
“This place is sloppy and the driver of this Dangote trailer had brake failure and was descending the hill on speed, when it hit the space wagon (Nissan Quest), the driver of the wagon was smart enough to swerve to this pavement at the centre of the road, which now cleared the way for the trailer to crush this commercial bus against this other truck that was in front of it. “It was fatal. You need to see how the victims were being dragged out of this commercial bus. I doubt if anybody would survive it because this bus was compressed and as you can see, it was crumbled,” the eyewitness stated.
A sympathiser blamed the authorities for not placing embargo on the movement of heady duty vehicles during the day, noting that a lot of road crashes would be avoided if the heavy duty vehicles plied the road at night only. He urged the government to institute heavy fines on heavyduty vehicles plying the roads during the day, saying the measure would go a long way in safeguarding lives on Nigerian roads.