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Truck crushes school bus, kills 21 pupils

Enugu families in tears

Sympathisers wept uncontrollably at Awgu town in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State following the tragic death of 21 pupils in an auto crash. Many other children including roadside artisans were also critically injured in the accident.

The schoolchildren were crushed to death when an articulated vehicle, a low-bed, ran into a fully-loaded 608 Mercedes Benz bus conveying school children and their teachers. The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), yesterday, confirmed that no fewer than 21 persons lost their lives in the auto crash on the old Enugu–Okigwe road.

The accident occurred at Nkwo Junction, when a low-bed lost control and rammed into a school bus conveying pupils of Presentation Nursery and Primary School, Awgu, owned by the Catholic Diocese of Awgu. The accident, which occurred at about 4:30p.m. on Wednesday, has thrown a lot of families into mourning as a particular family lost three children in the accident. Survivors, who sustained injuries, were taken to hospital The driver of the truck reportedly disappeared from the scene apparently for fear of a mob attack.

The FRSC Sector Commander in Enugu State, Mr. Ogbonnaya Kalu, confirmed the accident and the number of deaths to journal ists in Enugu. Kalu said that the FRSC Unit in Awgu had been to the scene of the accident and hospitals where the victims were receiving medical attention. Although, he said that the number of injured could not be ascertained as at the time of filing this report, he added that before the Road Safety officials could arrive at the scene some parents had taken their children to various hospitals for treatment. According to him, the fullyloaded school bus had 64 occupants, which included 61 students/pupils, two teachers and the driver. He blamed the accident on mechanical fault of the lowbed, which had a break failure while descending a sloppy and curved road.

“The low-bed trailer, which eyewitnesses alleged suffered a break system failure, rammed into the school bus first and into a welder’s shop, where the welder and his apprentice were working,” he said.

“As I speak with you 21 persons have been confirmed dead. The school bus had 51 schoolchildren of Catholic Primary School, a driver and two teachers. The children were both in secondary and primary,” Kalu said. An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the lowbed vehicle lost control and rammed into a big school bus conveying some secondary and primary school children home.

“The driver of the heavy duty vehicle ran away from the scene of the accident after forcing the vehicle to a halt inside the bush,” the eye witness said. Meanwhile, two yet-to-be-identified young men lost their lives yesterday in an auto crash in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. The two men, believed to be traders, were reportedly riding on a motorcycle and conveying a bag of corn to an unknown destination.

The accident occurred early in the morning. The victims were crushed to death by a fully loaded fuel tanker. The accident occurred at Ureje area of Ado-Ekiti, on the Federal Polytechnic Road. Witnesses claimed that the motorcycle mistakenly hooked on the edge of the trailer and fell under the vehicle. In the process, the trailer ran over the two victims and their motorcycle. They reportedly died on the spot.

It was a gory sight as the victims’ skulls and brains scattered on the road. Scores of sympathisers in the neighbourhood rushed to the scene to assist the victims. But it was futile. Policemen from Odo Ado Division, who rushed to the scene, prevented a mob from burning the truck.

Officials of the state Fire Service later evacuated the victims’ bodies to a morgue. The police public relations officer PPRO, Mr. Sunday Abutu, who confirmed the incident said: “Two people on a motorcycle were crushed by a tanker.

We were informed that the rider was trying to overtake the tanker when they unfortunately fell and crushed to death by the tanker. “Their bodies have been released to their families for burial based on their request. “The driver is in our custody for further investigation.”

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