No fewer than 33 passengers were feared dead yesterday when a coaster bus loaded with passengers skidded-off a dual carriage bridge and plunged into a river at J4, Ogbere -Ijebu stretch of the Sagamu – Ore expressway, in Ijebu East Local government area of Ogun state.
It was gathered that the bus sank immediately it plunged into the river and was reportedly swept away from the point of entry to the river.
It was learnt that, there were three survivors who include a pregnant woman who were said to have been hung between a tree branch.
Confirming the incident, the Unit Commander, Ijebu – Ode Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Seidu Isah Osilama, said the FRSC opera-tives arrived at the scene of the accident few minutes after it occurred.
He however said that they were able to rescue the three survivors because, according to him, they fell off the bus and landed on a tree.
According to him, the rescue effort would require crane and divers to ascertain the location of the bus and the passengers inside the water.
He said no one knows the exact number of passengers in the bus or the casualty figure as they are still in the water.
The survivors have been taken to hospital in Ore in Ondo state.
The Head of Operation of the FRSC in Ogun, Mrs Cecilia Alao also, said that the accident occurred at about 12 noon when the driver of the 36-seater coastal bus slept off.
Alao said that the exact number of passengers and the registration number of the vehicle were yet to be ascertained.
She said that all the victims, apart from the driver, were women travelling from Lagos to Benin to attend a burial ceremony.
The FRSC head of operations, who described the rescue operation as difficult, said that the command engaged the services of local divers who helped to rescued three of the passengers.
‘’We also hired a crane to pull the vehicle from the driver but after trying from 12 p.m to 6 p.m, we could not find the bus and other victims apart from the three.
‘’All other efforts to locate the vehicle and the victims proved abortive, the operation will continue over the night as we are not going to relent in our efforts,” she said.