Monday, 6 August 2012

Containers Smash Three Dead In Lagos

By the beads on his wrists and around his neck, he was a titled man  and his lifeless hands still gripped the Friday edition of the  newspaper he was reading moments before.

He and two others were in  the Toyota  Avalon car with registration number SQ 32 AAA  which had been  slowly moving up the Anthony Bridge , Oshodi-Apapa Expressway from Oshodi,  most probably looking forward to joining their families that Friday evening .

Ahead of them ,  a truck  had been labouriously hauling a 40-foot container  which , at about 7pm , suddenly slipped off the flat-bed and fell on the car and its three passengers.

According to eyewitnesses, death was slow in coming.

“ The others in the car with him-the driver and the other man- may have died immediately.

But for more than an hour , the chief was still writhing in pains, calling for help .

“At a time, his phones were ringing but there was nothing we could do because of the weight of the container  under which the car and its passengers were trapped.

“If we had the means to lift the container off the car, he would have been saved , but there was nothing we could do ” a  witness said.

Another witness said:  “The container was tilting at a dangerous angle and people were afraid to approach too closely.

“Help was very slow in coming or he man who was most likely a chief aged about 60 years old or more would have been rescued.”

An official of  Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) also  comment “we tried to see if we could force the chief out from the car but could not.

Yet another witness said: “The truck driver and his assistant  were not apprehended as they ran away immediately they discovered what they had caused.”

“I guess they were not aware  the Toyota was at the rear of their truck.

“When people started shouting , they  climbed down from the cabin and discovered that their container had fallen off the truck and crushed the car and its occupants.

“That was when they took to their heels.”

He said  “if the container had fallen into the  Lagos State Projects Development Commission’s (LAPDC) building at  Anthony Bridge more lives would have been lost .

“We had to wait for Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) officials and equipment to arrive  to recover the vehicle , and by then, the chief and all the others were dead.

“We tried to pull the container away with four tow vans but to no avail, it was too heavy.

He said it was  after they also failed to pull away the container using two 10-tire trucks that  they gave up all hopes of saving the passengers and sent for a crane.

When at last the crane arrived at about 10p.m  and lifted the container off the mangled car,  emergency rescue  and LASTMA officials took the bodies to Gbagada General Hospital .

For over four hours, until about 11 pm, the accident resulted to a traffic jam that extended  backwards past Oshodi , Toyota towards Ilasa and Cele Express.

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