Three dead as container load of plywood falls off bridge in Nigeria's largest city
Posted June 20, 2018 8:11 a.m. EDT
LAGOS, Nigeria (CNN) — A container load of plywood fell off a flat panel truck climbing a flyover crushing cars and mostly empty commercial buses in Lagos, officials said.
"The truck was obviously overloaded and the wood was not well-tightened to the truck, so when it climbed the bridge, it poured its contents on three buses and a car under it," said Adesina Tiamiyu, who heads the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency.
The accident occurred at around 8pm local time on Tuesday in a bustling business district in Lagos, Nigeria's biggest capital city.
A search and rescue team said at least three people are dead and four are seriously injured.
"Three people have died so far and about four others that were injured have been taken to the hospital," Tiamiyu added.
Deadly truck accidents are common on the bridge in the commercial district in downtown Lagos.
In 2016, an unlatched 40-feet container disengaged from an articulated vehicle and fell on vehicles under the bridge killing three people, local media reported.
Last year, a trailer loaded with granite emptied its contents on a moving vehicle killing a passenger.
Tuesday's incident sparked widespread anger among Nigerians on social media who said the tragic accident could have been prevented.
One Twitter user, Segun Awosanya, blamed the state government for the accident saying it had not learned from previous occurrences.
"We don't learn from past blunders and we mostly believe in temporary fixes... This is neither the first nor second time this will be happening.
"Container falling from Ojuelegba bridge in 2018 doesn't show we have grown or learnt anything," Awosanya said in a tweet.
Others accused the government of negligence and failing to address traffic challenges facing millions of residents living in Africa's most populous city.
"A container falling off a bridge can be considered a freak accident...an unfortunate event. But a container falling off the same bridge within three years is not an unfortunate incident, it is negligence. it should never have happened again," Yinka Ogunnubi tweeted.
Lagos State Commissioner for Information Kehinde Bamigbetan defended the government saying it previously banned heavy duty trucks from plying the route. Reckless driving and poor compliance with traffic rules were responsible for majority of the accidents in the area, he said.
"We had put a blockage on the bridge but that did not work because many were running into it and that was also causing accidents," Bamigbetan said.
"We are really sorry for what has happened and we appeal to the public and commiserate with the families but we need drivers to keep to safety and traffic rules all the time."