Lagos mourns as six die, 79 injured in Lagos train-bus collision
Tragedy struck yesterday, as scores of victims of the Lagos bus–train collision were being attended to by medical doctors at Lagos State University Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
The victims, treated in open space, were survivors of the accident, which killed a nursing mother and seven other staff members of Lagos State government.
They were killed when their staff bus marked Lagos: 04A-48LA, collided with a train operated by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) along Agege Motor Road in Shogunle, Lagos.
The immediate cause of the incident was the reported reckless driving on the part of the bus driver while trying to beat the train traffic signal at a railway crossing, before the moving train rammed into the bus.
A security guard in the area, Promise Fineman told The Guardian: “I heard the sounds a few minutes past 7:00a.m. I ran out and I saw three people already on the floor. I saw people making videos instead of rescuing. So ,I jumped inside the bus through the window and saw five people dead already on the bus.”
On emergency rescuers, he said: “Emergency workers were not here on time and that was a big problem, but people with cars started carrying those injured to the hospital before an ambulance arrived at the scene.”
Speaking on the incident, Railway District Manager, Lagos District, Augustin Arisa, said: At 7:20a.m. we got the distress call from our driver that there was an accident at Shogunle’s level crossing. While other drivers were waiting for the train to cross, the bus driver veered off from where other vehicles waited and entered the track. Before the train could stop, it had already carried the vehicle to a distance of about 100 metres where it was forced to stop.
I want to use this opportunity to warn that people should not stay on the track; you are an intruder to be on the track. The railway will be paid should anybody die on the track.”
The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, who was in the company of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 2 Command, Abiodun Alabi, said the policemen on ground were able to control the crowd to ensure smooth operation and removal of the vehicle: “We have a protocol for dealing with an incident like this and it was activated and we made sure that the crowd control and the emotional component was properly managed to give room for the emergency response team.”
When The Guardian visited the Accident Unit of Lagos State University Teahcing Hospital (LASUTH), the environment was in a sober mood as families of victims and residents thronged the hospital to catch a glimpse of the scene while hospital staff had a tough time preventing them from reaching out to victims.
One of the victim’s brothers, Mr Layeni Lateef, told The Guardian that the notice about his younger brother’s ordeal came to him as a shock as he was wondering how a train on its track would collide with a staff bus.
He urged commercial drivers to be extremely careful and obey traffic rules while driving.
Another victim’s friend, Rotimi Ogundeji said that he was in his shop when he got a call that his friend, Taiwo Lawal was involved in an accident. With the shock, he hurried to the teaching hospital to meet his friend lying in critical condition.
The Chief Medical of the hospital, Prof Adetokunbo Banwo, could not speak to The Guardian, on the ground that there will be a briefing today.
However, a staff of the hospital said, some of the victims were in critical condition.