….Bus carrying school pupils crashes
By Evelyn Usman, Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
An explosion Wednesday,rocked Kara and Ibafo areas along the Lagos/Ibadan expressway, resulting in an inferno which left two persons dead and several others injured. About sixteen vehicles were also reportedly destroyed, with eight completely burnt.
The incident which resulted in an unprecedented gridlock on the major expressway, occurred after three tankers conveying substance suspected to be acid, petrol and gas collided.
Eye witnesses said one of the tankers, conveying substance suspected to be petrol, apparently had a break failure and in the process, ran into another 33,000 litre tanker conveying some acidic substance. Time was 12.30am.
However, while effort was on to clear the vehicles, another truck with registration number XK 583 KJA fully loaded with diesel, reportedly ran into the stationary trucks at about 6.30am, resulting in an inferno.
Another two tankers parked close to the scene which is few kilometers away from the Mountain of Fire, Prayer City, Ogun State, also went up in flames.
Motorists plying the route hurriedly made u-turn to avoid being entangled in the resultant inferno. In the process, some commuters reportedly sustained varying degrees of injuries in their bid to escape from the scene. Some of them said to have been chocked by thick smoke emanating from the flame, were rushed to the hospital, while others abandoned their vehicles as they fled for safety.
Report said it took a while before fire service men arrived to contain the fire.
Motorists plying the route remained in a standstill position for several hours until the arrival of policemen and road safety personnel who managed to pave way for a free flow.
Spokesman for the Ogun state Police Command, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi when contacted, said the driver of one of the tankers and his motor boy lost their lives in what he described as an unfortunate incident.
Traffic policemen from police divisions around the area he said, were on ground to control the free flow of traffic
An eye witness, Mr. Lanre Adebayo, told our reporter that the accident occurred at about 6.30 am, when one of the tanker drivers with registration number XK 583 KJA fully loaded with petroleum product rammed into a stationery petrol tanker that had been earlier involved in a minor accident and resulted into an immediate inferno.
He narrated: “I was on my routine work and as I was approaching the bus stop I heard a sudden bang and before I could fathom what could have happened, there was a great ball of fire ahead, I quickly made a U turn and ran for safety.”
Adebayo, who said he immediately returned to the scene after parking in a safe location, saw that the tanker that crashed into the other vehicles had two passengers, one managed to escape but sustained injury while the other two victims were not lucky enough and got burnt to death.
He continued: “We came down to see what we could do to rescue the victims but because of the fire most of the people could do little or nothing. We were told that the two parked tankers had developed fault the previous day adding that contact had already been made for them to be towed away before the incident occurred.
When vanguard arrived the scene at about 11 am, officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, (FRSC) Ogun State division, Ogun State Fire Service and men of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA an d policemen were seen making frantic effort to tow the burnt tankers away from the express way.
Also narrating his experience to Newsmen, the driver of one of the affected tankers, Mr Robert Igedo attributed the cause of the accident on the deceased diesel tanker driver for over speeding.
“If the driver of the diesel tanker was not on high speed, he wouldn’t have collided with our own stationery tankers that were involved in a minor accident.
The unit commander FRSC, Mowe Unit command, Mr. Olalekan Morakinyo, who confirmed the death, said the authority was contacted at 6.45 am and arrived at 7.10am.
In a similar incident, a bus belonging to Cornerstone School at Ajah in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area was reportedly involved in a multiple crash along with three SUVs and other vehicles, Wednesay morning.
However, as at press time, it could not be ascertained if there were casualties in the accident. Eyewitnesses said the Cornerstone School bus somersaulted several times and fell into a ditch, trapping its occupants including expatriate staff.
***There is a buzz on Twitter as witnesses are sending reports via #burningtankers created by Vanguard on the social media.
You can send witnesses accounts /picture or videos of the burning tankers to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet with hashtag #BurningTankers. Pls Stay safe!