At least Twenty people were feared dead on Friday in Imo State after an 18-seater bus conveying passengers from Orlu town to Owerri, the state capital, had a head-on collision with a truck.
Our correspondent learned that the truck, which was on its way to Orlu from the state capital, was conveying diesel.
The tragedy, according to an eyewitness simply identified as Paschal, occurred on Njaba bridge along the Owerri-Orlu expressway.
He said, “Over 20 people lost their lives on Njaba bridge after a trailer conveying diesel lost control.
“It rammed into an 18-seater bus and, sadly, all the occupants of the bus were burnt alive.”
Another source, Chukwukere Obinna, said, “Relevant authorities should take note of the kind of accidents that occur these days.
“It happened on Njaba bridge. It was a multiple accident. People were feared dead. It is a disaster. A black Friday, indeed.”
Another eyewitness who gave his identity as Ikechukwu disclosed that immediately the two vehicles collided, they exploded and burned to death the 18 passengers.
He said, “It was a black Friday, as more than 20 people died in an accident between a tanker carrying diesel and an 18-seater bus.
“The bus was burnt beyond recognition, all the passengers were roasted alive except one woman who survived.”
The tragedy had caused serious traffic in the area, as villagers, travelers and the men of Federal Road Safety Corps battled to rush the survivors to the hospital and to clear the road for the free flow of traffic.
In a television conversation, the state commandant of FRSC, Kayode Aremu, who confirmed the tragedy, said he had yet to be briefed about the casualty figure.
Aremu said, “My men are at the scene of the incident on a rescue mission and controlling traffic.
“We have not ascertained the cause of the accident and we don’t have the casualty figure yet.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, said, “Immediately we learned of the incident, the command quickly contacted professional firefighters.
“They are at the scene battling to extinguish the inferno. We don’t have the casualty figure yet. The situation is being managed.”