Wednesday, November 27, 2013

4 die, 8 injured in Anambra bullion van crash

Four persons, including two policemen and a road-side vulcanizer died, yesterday, at New Auto Tyres Market, at Nkpor, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, near the commercial city of Onitsha in a ghastly motor accident involving a convoy of bank bullion van and other commercial vehicles.

The incident which occurred at about 10  a.m., involving five vehicles at a time, including two articulated trucks, the bullion van, its Toyota Hilux escort, Mercedes Benz 911 truck and a Chevrolet bus, caused a gridlock along Enugu/Onitsha expressway.

The escort van at the Scene of the accident
The escort van at the Scene of the accident
According to the source, the bullion van and its escort Hilux van heading towards Awka, the state capital, from the Onitsha end, apparently conveying an unspecified amount of money to Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, branch were on high speed when one of the bullion van’s tyres blew out.
Eye witnesses told Vanguard that the bullion van swerved towards the right side of the expressway and the driver lost control and hit a moving Mercedes Benz 911 lorry with number plate Delta XA 928 ASB which led to the dismantling of the two front tyres and other components of the lorry as it fell into a drainage.
The escort vehicle, with number plate AAA 87 BZ, while trying to dodge the bullion van, hit the back of an articulated truck parked by the side of the drainage, killing two policemen on the spot while others were critically injured.
The Mercedes Benz 911 hit by the bullion van, in turn hit another parked truck  which hit the Chevrolet bus before they all rolled into the drainage.
As the uncontrollable crowd was battling to recover the bodies of  dead victims and at the same time rescuing the injured ones, the source said, some policemen quickly brought in a towing van which recovered the damaged bullion van, leaving the Hilux van which was damaged beyond repairs with blood stain.
The corpses of the two policemen, that of the vulcanizer and one other suspected to be either a driver or conductor of one of the lorries, were moved to a nearby mortuary, while the injured were conveyed to a nearby hospital.
The Nteje Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Mr. Sunday Joseph, who confirmed the incident in a telephone chat with newsmen, however, said he was aware of the death of only one policeman, while 11 others were injured.
Joseph also confirmed that the cause of the incident was over-speeding and dangerous over-taking by the bullion van, arguing that its tyre did not blow out before the incident, but after.
In another development, the Onitsha Unit Commander of the FRSC, Mr. Anthony Metta also confirmed that a commercial bus knocked down a commercial motorcyclist and his passenger at the Bridge-head end of the Enugu/Onitsha expressway yesterday morning, injuring the two of them.
Metta told newsmen also in a telephone chat that the driver abandoned his vehicle and fled the scene as soon as he knocked down the duo, adding that when some soldiers on patrol and FRSC officials took the injured motorcyclists to St. Charles Borromeo Hospital with the abandoned commercial bus, for urgent medical attention, the driver later later mobilizsed his fellow drivers and trooped to the hospital premises and held the FRSC officials hostage for dare using his bus to take the injured ones to the hospital..

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