Accident: Hope of rescuing passengers from Lagos lagoon dim – NEMA

The Coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye, says the hope of rescuing the two passengers who fell off a bus into the Lagos lagoon following an accident on Wednesday has become dim.

He spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the scene of the accident in Lagos.

This is just as the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has said the remaining occupants of the bus were seriously injured.

The impact of an accident earlier on Wednesday, according to Farinloye, left two adults thrown off an 18-seater bus into the Lagos lagoon.

Farinloye had said this in a statement, adding that personnel of the Marine Police were in search of the two adults, a male and female, who fell off the LT 18-seater bus.

He said the crash occurred by Adeniyi Adele axis inward Lagos Island on the Third Mainland Bridge.

He said the driver of the vehicle, who was on speed, swerved off the road and hit the bridge railings, with the impact pushing the two passengers off the bus into the lagoon.

Speaking with NAN correspondent who was at the scene, Farinloye said personnel dispatched from the agency, joined by two teams from the Nigerian Police Marine Corps, had been assisting in the rescue operations.

“However, by now, we are not looking at search and rescue again, but recovery. This is because the male passenger was said to have floated about three times before he was finally drowned, while the woman did not even surface at all. Therefore, the possibility of anyone of them surviving is slim,” he said.

According to him, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) had, however, mobilised more local divers to join the team for the recovery operations.

Mr Jonathan Owoade, Zonal Coordinator, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), also corroborated the explanation by the NEMA official.

Owoade said that other victims in the bus had been rescued and taken to a nearby general hospital for treatment.

“We are on our way to the hospital to see their state of being and also commiserate with them,” he told NAN.

According to him, the accident seemed to have occurred as a result of speeding by the driver, given the impact.

NAN reports that the emergency response agencies were seen on ground at the scene of the accident, comprising marine police, LASEMA, FRSC, NEMA, and the local divers.

The bus involved in the accident damaged part of the railings, and pieces of its shattered windshield littered the scene.

Meanwhile, LASTMA, in a statement by the Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department, Mr Adebayo Taofiq, said the 18 other passengers rescued in the bus accident and taken to the hospital were seriously injured.

He said that LASTMA officer Olamide Ojo-Oniyun (One Alpha, Zone 1 Lagos Island), who led the recovery operations, confirmed that his team had evacuated the LT Commercial bus off the road for unhindered vehicular movement inward in the Adeniji Adele area of Lagos Island.

The General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Olalekan Bakare-Oki, also cautioned motorists to obey speed limits and ensure their vehicles are properly checked before embarking on any journey within or outside the state.

Recall that the Federal Government reopened the third mainland bridge on April 4, setting the speed limit at 80 km per hour, following extensive repairs over a period of five months.

Wednesday’s accident occurred on a day Muslims were celebrating Eid-el-Fitr.

It came days after the Lagos Sector of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) reiterated the call for safe driving on the newly reopened Third Mainland Bridge after an accident occurred on it on Thursday.

A collision involving three vehicles occurred on the bridge on Thursday, the day it was fully reopened to traffic after months of partial closure.

The FRSC described the Thursday incident, which involved three vehicles inward Iyana Oworo axis of the bridge, as an avoidable crash and blamed it on negligence.

The Sector Commander, Mr Babatunde Farinloye, had told the NAN that though there was no injury in the accident, there was minor damage to the vehicle.

The sector commander advised motorists to drive cautiously, reiterating the need to comply with the 80km per hour speed limit on the bridge. (NAN)

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