An auto crash has claimed 14 members of the Assembly of God’s Church at Amasiri Secondary School Junction of the Afikpo-Okigwe Road.
The accident, which occurred Sunday night, involved an articulated vehicle and a 14-seater bus conveying members of the church, Isu in Ohaoazara Local Government Area from a burial.
Mr. Roland Ogbuke, Afikpo Unit Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, confirmed the incident to Nigerian Pilot.
He said: “We received a distress call early morning of the accident, and I mobilised my rescue officers immediately to the scene of the carnage. Sources informed us that the articulated vehicle driver was trying to dodge a heap of sand on the road and in the process hit the oncoming bus which was on a convoy with other vehicles.
“The articulated vehicle then pushed the bus to a tree some metres away from the road and crushed it on the tree, decapitating the bus in the process and mangling the passengers’ bodies.
“We had to mobilise a nearby quarry company which used its heavy duty machine to cut the tree and decapitated parts of the bus, in order to evacuate the mangled bodies of the passengers,” he said.
Ogbuke remarked that the crushed passengers were mostly women, as their relatives and church- members who were inside other vehicles, cooperated with his officers in the evacuation process.
“The police in particular, assisted the FRSC in evacuating the bodies to the Mater Misericordae Hospital, Afikpo because our vehicle developed a serious fault on the way. We are hereby urging citizens of the state to visit the hospital to identify corpses of their relatives,” Ogbuke said.
He noted that the FRSC with the aid of other security agencies and the quarry company conducted a “mop-up” of the accident scene to ensure free flow of traffic along the road.
“We urge the public to imbibe road safety practices by shunning night journeys, over speeding among other practices that negate road safety regulations,” he said.
Mrs. Regina Ukpa, a resident of the area, said that the incident has instilled fear in the people due to the high rate of vehicular movements along the road.
“I call on relevant authorities to expedite action on the reconstruction of roads in the area and across the state, to avert loss of innocent lives in such avoidable carnages,” she said.