•Pregnant woman among survivors
By Moshood Adebayo, Abeokuta
A passenger coaster bus loaded with passengers yesterday, ran-off a dual carriage bridge in Ogbere-Ijebu area of Ogun State and plunged into the river, killing about 33 persons. The vehicle, which was said to have left Lagos in the early hours of the day, was heading towards Benin, the Edo State capital, for a funeral when it crashed onto the popular J4 River between Ogbere-Ijebu and Sagamu-Ore Expressway.
The Unit Commander, Ijebu-Ode Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Seidu Isha Osilama, who confirmed the incident, said it occurred at about mid-day. He added that among the survivors of the unfortunate auto mishap was a pregnant woman whom he said hung on a tree branch after bus plunged into the river. According to him, the FRSC officials arrived the scene of the accident few minutes after it occurred and they were able to rescue the three survivors because they fell off the bus and landed on tree.
He added that the rescue effort would require crane and divers to ascertain the location of the bus and the passengers inside the water. Osilama lamented that it would be difficult to ascertain the true figure of casualties, as they were still inside the river as the time he was speaking with the press. His words: “No one knows the exact number of passengers in the bus or the casualty figure, as they are still in the water. The casualties are more than those who survived’’. Another FRSC official, who spoke with Saturday Sun on condition of anonymity, said rescue operations were still on as at late yesterday, causing heavy vehicular hold-up on the busy road.
He failed to disclose the immediate cause or causes of the accident, saying: “What is paramount to us now is how to save lives, which, to an extent, we have been able to do. “But I can tell you that the accident occurred at Kilometre 56 Ijebu Ode-Ore road. Since it plunged into the river, it made rescue operations difficult, but local divers were mobilized to search the river to rescue survivors.”
A crane was said to have arrived the scene of the accident from Omo Wood Industries to pull out the vehicle from the river. It struggled from 12pm to 6.00p.m, but to no avail. Saturday Sun learnt that local divers were also too tired to continue the search, while the crane was ordered back to the office by 6.00p.m.