Tragedy struck yesterday at Nkpor, a suburb of Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra State when four persons, including two uniformed policemen and a road-side vulcaniser, lost their lives in a fatal motor accident involving the convoy of a bank bullion van and other commercial vehicles.
The incident which occurred at about 10am at the New Auto Tyres Market area of Nkpor, Idemili North local government area involved five vehicles, including two Mack trailers, bank bullion van, a Toyota Hilux van escorting the bullion van, a Mercedes 911 and a Chevrolet bus, caused traffic gridlock along the ever busy Enugu-Onitsha expressway, as a mammoth crowd battled to rescue some of the victims who were still alive.
According to an eyewitness, the bullion van and the Hilux van heading towards Awka, the state capital, from the Onitsha end, apparently conveying money to the Awka branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), were on high speed when one of the bullion van’s tyres burst open.
The source told LEADERSHIP that as soon as the tyre of the bullion van burst, the driver lost control of the vehicle and hit a moving Mercedes Benz 911 lorry with registration number Delta XA 928 ASB and shattered the lorry, dismantling the two front tyres and other components of the lorry, forcing it to fall into a drainage.
The Hilux van with registration number AA 87 BZ, carrying some policemen escorting the bullion van, while trying to dodge the bullion van, hit the back of a stationary Mack trailer by the road and smashed the front side of the vehicle, killing the two of the policemen on the spot and leaving others in critical conditions.
The moving Mercedes 911, also hit by the bullion van, hit another stationary trailer which hit the Chevrolet bus before they all rolled into the drainage.
LEADERSHIP gathered that while efforts were being made to rescue survivor, a team of policemen came with a towing van and took away the bullion van.
The bodies of the deceased were later taken to a mortuary while the injured were taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention.
The Nteje unit commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Mr Sunday Joseph, who confirmed the incident in a telephone interview, stated that he was aware of the death of only one policeman, while 11 others were injured.
In another development, the Onitsha Unit Commander of the FRSC, Mr. Anthony Metta also confirmed that a commercial bus knocked down a commercial motorcyclist and his passenger at the Bridge-head end of the Enugu-Onitsha expressway yesterday morning, injuring the two of them.
Metta stated in a telephone chat that the driver abandoned his vehicle and fled the scene as soon as he knocked down the duo, adding that when some soldiers on patrol and FRSC officials took the injured motorcyclist and his passenger to St. Charles Borromeo Hospital with the abandoned commercial bus, for urgent medical attention, the driver later mobilised his fellow drivers and trooped to the hospital premises and held the FRSC officials hostage for using his bus to take the injured ones to the hospital.