Train accident leaves 2 critically injured in Ogun

Scene of an accident involving a train (Loco 2214), cement -laden trailer and a Toyota Camry, at Kila, Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State, on Saturday. PHOTO: D’ TOYIN

An early morning train accident at Ilugun-Kila Level Crossing in Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State, on Saturday, left two people critically injured and one other escaping death by a whisker.

The accident involved a trailer carrying cement, which was run into by the train, and a Toyota Camry car with the registration number Abuja- RSH 306 KM said to have been parked away from the crossing when the incident happened at about 6:58 a.m.

The train, Loco 2219, haulaging 13 empty wagons, was going to Lagos from Dugbe, Ibadan, Oyo State, and descending a slope at the level crossing when it ran into the trailer and broke it into two pieces.

The driver and lone occupant of the car, who refused to give his name, told Sunday Tribune that he parked a few metres from the crossing when he saw the train approaching, while the driver of the trailer was attempting to cross the track.

The severed head of the truck almost tore his car into shreds, while he escaped unhurt.

Residents in the area armed with shovels and wheelbarrows were seen re-bagging and carting cement from the scene.

While some officials of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said the train driver started blaring horns 500 metres to the crossing, residents and eyewitnesses said they did not hear the train blare its horns.

Investigation by Sunday Tribune revealed that there was no level crossing keeper, whose duty is to stop vehicles from crossing the rail track, when the accident occurred.

Residents told Sunday Tribune that they had always played the role of level crossing keepers by asking motorists to stop whenever train passes through the community.

Commander of the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), Obantoko Unit, Mrs Filani Morolake, told Sunday Tribune that those injured had been taken to an undisclosed hospital before they got to the scene.

Filani explained that the trailer was coming from Abeokuta and going to Ibadan, while the car driver was heading to Abeokuta from Ibadan.

Residents of Kila community told Sunday Tribune that they had made several representations to NRC management at Dugbe to call attention to the danger posed to the community and motorists at the crossing.

NRC Public Relation Officer at the Dugbe Western District Station, Francis Unyimadu, said he was aware of the accident but had not been briefed on what actually transpired, promising to speak when briefed.

On one of their visits, they said they were in company with the chairman of Odeda Local Government Area of the state.

It was gathered that 16 cows were crushed at the same Ilugun-Kila Level Crossing in 2015, while several motorists had narrowly cheated death in the area.