No fewer than 15 passengers were killed yesterday after a mini truck plunged into the Ome River, near Oru-Ijebu area of Ogun State.
The tragic incident, which occurred in the early hours along the Ibadan – Ijebu-Ode highway, also left 38 persons seriously injured.
New Telegraph gathered that the ill-fated vehicle, a white Mitsubishi Canter truck with registration number XE331MKA, was overloaded with passengers travelling from Sokoto State. The truck, it was learnt, was also loaded with guinea fowls meant for delivery at a farm in Ijebu-Ode.
The vehicle was said to have lost control near the Ome River, which has a narrow bridge bereft of safety guard railings.
The Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogun State Command, Clement Oladele, while confirming the incident, disclosed that it occurred at Ome River, Ajegunle Bridge, along the Ibadan – Ijebu-Ode highway.
Oladele, who further disclosed that the vehicle veered off the road, attributed the cause of the incident to fatigue.
He stated that the remains of those who lost their lives had been evacuated to Sabo in Ijebu-Ode for burial by the Hausa community, while those injured were taken to the General Hospital, Ijebu-Ode, for medical attention.
The FRSC boss cautioned passengers against boarding vehicles designated for goods only to forestall similar tragedy.
He explained that goods-only vehicles, by their configuration, were not designed for transporting passengers but only goods.
He added: “Such goods-only trucks open compartment nature without comfortable seats or mere wooden seats are not suitable for passengers’ safety. Rescue operatives led by the FRSC Unit Commander Ijebu-Ode and FRSC rescue operators from the Ago-Iwoye outpost Command were quickly mobilised to the scene. However, 15 corpses, all male adults, out of the passengers crammed into the Canter mini truck, have been recovered from under the bridge from the dried Ome River. So far, 38 passengers in the mini truck sustained varying degrees of injuries and were rushed to the State Hospital, Ijebu-Ode for medical treatment. The dead had been evacuated to Sabo in Ijebu-Ode with the Sarki Hausawa making arrangements with the police for mass burial of the dead victims.”
The Sector Commander, however, advised families of the victims to contact the FRSC Command in Ago-Iwoye or Ijebu-Ode for details of the crash.