Lagos train-bus collision: LASEMA, NRC accuse driver as FG orders investigation

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and the Nigerian Railway Corporation have placed the blame for a fatal train accident that occurred in the PWD area of the state on Thursday on the driver of a Lagos State Government worker vehicle. Six people were killed and 96 were injured.

At the PWD rail crossing, off the Lagos-Abeokuta Highway, a passenger train collided with a fully laden staff vehicle owned by the Lagos State Government, causing the tragedy to strike in Lagos just before 8 am on Thursday.

Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, the Permanent Secretary of LASEMA, said to reporters that the bus driver disregarded the NRC officials’ signals because he was impatient to cross the rail.

Also, the NRC claimed in a statement issued by its Deputy Director for Public Affairs, Yakub Mahmood, that the bus disobeyed a command from corporation authorities by passing other vehicles that were waiting for the train to pass.

An investigation into the accident has been mandated by the federal government.

The unfortunate bus, which had the registration number 04A-48LA, was traveling from the Government Residential Area in Ikeja to the state office in Alausa when it struck the train at the PWD rail crossing.

The railway was reported to be traveling to Ido from Ijoko, Ogun State, while the bus was stated to be arriving from Isolo.

Witnesses claim that from PWD to Sogunle, the railway dragged the bus down its rail for roughly 100 meters before becoming trapped.

Some terrified bus passengers reportedly made hasty attempts to jump off the vehicle as it was being pulled by the train, especially those near the exit doors.

By the time the bus and train eventually came to a halt on the track, the passengers were stumbling over one another trying to exit the stranded vehicle.

While other passengers suffered injuries of varying severity, it was reported that two people passed away instantly.

The victims were rescued by emergency personnel dispatched to the scene, who then took them to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Ikeja.

The train pushed the bus for about 100 meters before coming to a stop, according to Augustine Arisa, Chief Mechanical Engineer and Lagos District Manager for Nigeria Railway Corporation.

This, according to him, is because of the high speed of the train.

Arisa disclosed this in an interview with one of our correspondents at the scene of the accident.

He noted that at 7.50 am, he received a distress call from one of the drivers of the NRC, alerting him of a train-bus accident at the Shogunle Level Crossing.

Arisa said, “At 7.50 am, we got a distress call from our driver that there has been an accident at the Shogunle Level Crossing.

“On further interaction, we found out that the level-crossing keeper was there. The LCK is the man with the red and yellow flags at all times at the level crossing.

“If he gives you the red flag, you are to stop. If he gives you the yellow flag, you are to move with caution. If he gives the yellow flag to the train driver, that means he has asked the train driver to start coming.

“With that, the train driver has the confidence that the rail is clear for him to drive through. This simply means all buses should wait and not move till the yellow flag is given to them. With that, the train driver has the confidence that the rail is clear for him to drive through.”

Arisa, narrating how the accident occurred, said the BRT driver veered off from where other buses were waiting and entered the track, ignoring the red flag by the level crossing keeper.

“Before the train driver could stop, he had already hit the vehicle and pushed it to a distance of about 100 meters before finally stopping. This is because the train cannot stop immediately,” he added.

He further emphasized that no one should be on the rail track for whatever reason.

According to him, anyone seen on the rail track is an intruder and has no business being there.

He added, “I need to emphasize this and drum it to the ears of people that a moving train cannot stop immediately.

“So, no one has the right to stay on the track. You don’t have any business being on the track. For you being on the track, you are an intruder.

“If anyone dies on the track, your family members will have to pay a railway fine before retrieving your corpse, because no one is supposed to be there in the first place. When the flag bearers tell you to stop, please, stop.”

In an exclusive interview with our correspondent, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, stated that 102 crash victims were admitted to the teaching hospital.

The hospital reportedly took in 85 victims at once, according to Fabamwo, who described the event as overwhelming.

He disclosed that the hospital had started using open space therapy, also known as triage, which he said was the best method for handling emergencies in the entire globe.

Because the hospital’s emergency room only had 30 beds available, he claimed triage was the right course of action because some other patients were already taking some of the beds when the crash victims were brought in.

Fabamwo said, “I got a call very early in the morning about the mass causalities, by the time I got to the hospital, I saw that 85 causalities had been brought to us.

“They were on their way to work and the accident happened around 7.30 am, and our emergency unit is just a 30-bed unit, imagine if they brought in 85 victims and don’t forget our bed cannot be lying fallow, they will always be occupied.

“So, we had to do what is done internationally, international best practice, and that is called open triage which means you put all the victims on the ground, in a spacious space, luckily, we have a helipad which is spacious.

“So, with canopies and all the victims on the floor and we started to triage them. To triage means that those that have mild injuries, moderate, and those that are critically injured are detected and treated.

“To my amazement, I found hundreds of our health workers on the ground; doctors, pharmacists, nurses, Lab scientists, everyone was on the ground, giving a helping hand. Drips were set up for some of them, and the response was just amazing and that was because we set up monthly drills to stimulate disaster situations, so we won’t be running helter-skelter.”

Fabamwo revealed that six deaths were recorded in the crash.

According to him, while two died at the scene of the accident, four others died later in the hospital.

He added that some of the victims were also taken to some hospitals around LASUTH to reduce the pressure on the institution.

The hospital was visited by Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, together with other members of the State Executive Council, Prof. Akin Abayomi, the head of service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, and the state commissioner of health for the state.

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