Contrary to media reports that 13 persons were recently burnt to death in an auto crash in Effurun near Warri in Delta State, the Delta State Commissioner for Transport, Benson Igbakpa, on Friday said available records have revealed that six persons lost their lives in the accident that occurred on Sunday, January 12, 2014.
The commissioner said in his office in Asaba, that while three persons died on the spot, another three who were among the eight victims that were rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) breathed their last few hours/days later.
His words, “Contrary to media reports that 13 persons were burnt to death in an accident on Sunday, January 12, involving one of the Delta State Urban Transit Bus, we have since discovered that the number of deaths were not up to 10 or 13 as were being speculated and published
“I was at UBTH where eight persons were rushed to but unfortunately, out of the eight persons, three have died while the remaining five persons, the doctors said, are responding to treatments. Also, two of the victims who were rushed to one of the hospitals in Warri, are still undergoing treatment.
“We are also aware that three passengers of the ill fated bus as well as the driver and his conductor did not sustain any serious injury. So, available records revealed that six persons, as against the 10 and 13 that were reported, lost their lives”. Igbakpa stressed.
He also said: “Although we are highly pained that the accident and the deaths happened, we are making this clarifications because, one thing is for people to speculate, another is for the facts and figures to be made bare”.
Decrying the alleged incident that caused the accident and its attendant fire explosion as one of the passengers was alleged to be travelling with some quantity of fuel in the same bus; Igbakpa has asked passengers of the state government transport scheme to take ownership of the state government vehicles as well as ensure that their rights were not abused while on transit.
Speaking further, the commissioner warned drivers against the risk of travelling without fire extinguishers in their vehicles, stressing that any driver within the state government employ who flouts the directives would be shown the way out just as he emphasised that other commercial drivers in the state undermines the directive would be highly sanctioned.
On what the state government is doing for the hospitalised survivors of the accident, Igbakpa said that the state government has been lifting some fingers of assistance.
“The fact that we have been visiting them in their various hospitals like I told you earlier shows that the state government is doing something to alleviate their burdens even though it may not have been coming in such an elaborate terms”.
It would be recalled that on Sunday, January 12, 2014, one of the buses of the Delta State Mass Transit Scheme with registration number, Delta 14C7A DT went up in flames in Effurun, headquarters of Uvwie Local Government area of the state three minutes after it took off from the PTI Junction where 13 passengers were earlier reported to have been burnt to death.
It was gathered that the accident may have been caused by an explosion as one of the women on board was alleged to be carrying some litres of fuel in jerry can in the same bus.