Authorities in Nigeria say no fewer than 17 corpses have been recovered after a bus plunged into the Akeze-Ukwu River in eastern Ebonyi State.
The Mercedes 608-model bus was said to have been conveying members of a church, who were returning from their pastor’s funeral, when the incident happened on Friday, 18 September 2020.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Ebonyi explained that the bus driver lost control of the vehicle while trying to overtake an articulated vehicle on the bridge.
Mrs Stella Uchegbu, the FRSC Sector Commander in Ebonyi, confirmed 17 bodies have been retrieved from the river since the Friday incident.
She added that the corpses were deposited at the Mater Misericordae hospital Afikpo.
Uchegbu said the FRSC sent its personnel to the hospital, where some rescued victims were being treated, to interact with doctors on the true reports concerning the incident.
“We have been getting conflicting reports on the casualties so we sent our personnel to the hospital to interact with the doctors handling the cases. We were able to ascertain that seven persons were actually rescued from the river on the day of the incident instead of five earlier reported. One person was confirmed dead, two persons are presently on admission, two have been officially discharged while two opted to return home having sustained no injuries from the incident,” she said.
Ughegbu added that with the 14 corpses retrieved from the river on the second day of the rescue operations and the three other corpses retrieved on Sunday, the total number of retrieval is 24.
The total number of dead victims is now 18.
The Ebonyi Command of the Nigerian Police Force also confirmed in a statement the retrieval of three more corpses on Sunday, adding that a retired police officer was among the deceased.
The statement signed by DSP Loveth Odah, the Police Public Relations Officer, said that “the lifeless body of retired CSP Livinus Mbah was among the retrieved corpses.
“Efforts are still on to recover the remaining 10 people,” it stated.
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