How 21 Pupils, Others Die As School Bus, Trailer Collide In Enugu
How 21 pupils, others die as school bus, trailer collide in Enugu
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It was a black Wednesday in Mgbowo, Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State, as 21 persons, many of whom were pupils of Presentation Nursery and Primary School, owned by the Catholic Diocese of Awgu, died in a road crash.
The accident put many families in mourning, as a family is reported to have lost three of their children in the incident.
It was gathered that the fully loaded 608 Mercedes Benz bus conveying the pupils had 64 occupants, which included 61 students, two teachers, and the driver.
It was also learnt that the incident, which involved a low-bed trailer belonging to a construction company, occurred about 4:30 p.m. while the pupils were being conveyed home.
The trailer reportedly developed brake problems and lost control, hurtling down from the Mmaku slope of Oji River-Awgu Road into Nkwo Junction linking Old Enugu-Port-Harcourt expressway and rammed into the school bus, and then into a welder’s shop, where the welder and his apprentice were working.
Also killed in the accident were some members of the school staff, a vulcaniser, a commercial motorcyclist, and an auto mechanic.
It was gathered that some pupils and other road users at the scene also sustained injuries and were rushed to nearby hospitals by sympathisers, just as parents besieged the scene and sought to verify bodies from the ill-fated bus.
The driver of the bus and that of the low-bed reportedly survived the accident. “The driver of the heavy-duty trailer ran away from the scene after forcing the vehicle to a halt inside the bush,’’ an eyewitness said.
The Enugu Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogbonnaya Kalu, who confirmed the incident, said it was caused by a brake failure and reckless driving.
“As we speak, the confirmed number of death is 21. Of note is that not all the deaths were school children. Those working on the roadside were part of the casualties. There were a lot of artisans where the crash happened. Information reaching me also has it that the low-bed has a problem,” he added.
Efforts to reach the Awgu Council Chairman, Pedro Nwankwo, proved abortive. The school belongs to the Catholic Diocese of Awgu and is run by sisters from the Daughters of Divine Love (DDL) congregation.