The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency said the rescue operation ended around 4am on Wednesday and three people were confirmed dead in the accident which occurred on the Ojuelegba Bridge, Surulere, Lagos State.
A truck conveying piles of plywood had an accident on the Ojuelegba Bridge around 8pm on Tuesday.
The truck, which tilted sideways, emptied the plywood on commuters and motorists under the bridge, killing three of the victims.
The LASEMA General Manager, Adeshina Tiamiyu, in a statement by the agency’s Public Affairs Officer, Adebayo Kehinde, said the accident was preventable.
He said, “The agency received a distress call via the control room on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, around 08.30pm regarding a trailer accident at Ojuelegba Bridge inward Fadeyi and immediately activated the emergency response plan to the scene with other stakeholders.
“On arrival at the incident scene, it was discovered that a truck with yet-to-be idenfied number plate conveying a huge load of foreign wooden sheets tilted while negotiating the curved end of the bridge, resulting in the consignment falling off the truck down the bridge on a Toyota Corolla and three other commercial buses.
“The prompt response of emergency and security operatives to the scene culminated in the rescue of two trapped victims, who were extracted with the aid of the agency’s light rescue equipment and immediately taken to a hospital by officials of the Lagos State Ambulance Service for further medical treatment. Unfortunately, three lives were lost to the incident.”
Tiamiyu said the rescue team ensured that all the wooden sheets and vehicles were cleared off the road to avoid a secondary incident and ensure free flow of traffic.
The LASEMA boss advised drivers of heavy duty trucks to ensure that their vehicles were in good conditions and that loaded goods were properly secured to the flat bed before embarking on any journey.
One of those who died in the accident was identified as Rasaq Fatai, a driver.
His brother, Ahmed Fatai, expressed shock at the news, saying his wife had not been informed.
Ahmed said Rasaq had just taken the bus from a mechanic workshop to pick passengers at Ojuelegba when tragedy struck.
He said, “I was at Mile 2 when I was called by some friends. I was not told what really happened; they just said my brother’s name was being mentioned at Ojuelegba.
“When I got there, it was his lifeless body that the plywood had mangled that I met. I have not told his wife; she is nursing a baby.”
The Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, Ladi Lawanson, said the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority had been ordered to deploy officials in the Ojuelegba Bridge area to ensure that trucks did not pass through the bridge again.
He said, “We have a directive from His Excellency, Akinwunmi Ambode, to come here for a firsthand assessment of the unfortunate incident that happened last night where we learnt that a container carrying trailer de-strapped from the bridge and the container crushed vehicles, with some innocent people suffering varying degrees of injury and unfortunately, we lost three lives.
“We have spoken to members of the community who have been in contact with us since morning and we understand that the way forward is to prevent this from happening in the future because these are three lives too many that we have lost to this incident, which is clearly avoidable.”
He urged the Nigerian Port Authority to help the state government in ensuring that trucks used the right equipment to lash down whatever goods they were conveying.
Olakpe said the directive for officials of the agency to be deployed in the area would be carried out immediately.