ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Two separate road crashes involving trucks in southern Nigeria left 20 people dead including children, authorities said Sunday, with many of the victims burned beyond recognition.
In Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos, a truck carrying a heavy container landed on a commercial bus on a busy bridge in the Ojuelegba area of the city, Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu with the state emergency response agency said in a statement.
“Further investigations revealed that the bus was picking up passengers when the truck lost control and fell over the side of the bridge,” he said.
Only one woman survived while nine passengers including two children died in the crash, he added.
Residents quickly gathered at the scene minutes after the truck fell on the bus but none of the passengers could be pulled out under the weight of the 20-foot container until officials arrived with rescue tools about one hour later.
Earlier on Sunday, another truck collided with a bus in Odigbo council area of Ondo state near Lagos, killing all the passengers on board, said Nigeria’s road safety agency.
“Eleven people were burnt beyond recognition,” in the early morning crash blamed on reckless driving, according to Richard Adetoro with the road safety agency. “Being a fire incident, people could not rush to the scene until the firefighters came."
Road crashes are common in many parts of Nigeria where roads are in poor conditions and traffic regulations are usually not adhered to. They are worse in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, where trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles often ply the same roads with commuters.
Authorities have not been able to curb the accidents despite policies they have introduced to make the roads safer. Experts say this is because of the failure to implement road traffic regulations in addition to the poor state of many roads in Nigeria.