Edo State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) yesterday confirmed that not less than 53 persons died in a multiple accident that occurred on Thursday evening at Abudu Bridge, along Benin/Agbor Road, in Orhionmwon Local Council of the state.
The Guardian gathered that a bullion van was also involved in the crash, but it was not clear whether there was money in the van.
The multiple crashes was said to have occurred when a tanker laden with petroleum product rammed into the bullion van, which was said to have developed fault and was being fixed by the road.
The occupants of the van were said to be diverting traffic when the tanker ran into them, with the other vehicles driving behind also getting stuck.
Spokesman of the Command, George Otoaviokhai, who gave the confirmation in a text message to journalists in Benin, said five persons also sustained varying degrees of injuries.
In the text messages, titled, ‘FRSC info on Abudu auto crash,’ Otoaviokhai said eight vehicles- two buses, one Sienna, one Dyna truck, one tanker, one Ford bus, one Toyota Corolla and one motorcycle- were involved in the accident he attributed to brake failure.
“All those in the two buses, Sienna and Corolla, burnt to ashes and one dead person taken to mortuary,” he said, adding that all the vehicles involved have been evacuated from the highway, while health officers from Orhionmwon Local Council were invited to give mass burial to the dead.
Otoaviokhai explained: “The bullion van actually broke down and they were trying to fix it. They diverted traffic. It was in the process of diverting traffic that the tanker rammed into the other vehicles.
“It was not as if it was the bullion van that was affected; it broke down and it was fixed.
“It was not a head-on collision. The vehicles were coming from Agbor into Benin. The tanker rammed into parked vehicles. The tanker was loaded and there was a combustion.”