Tragedy struck in the early hours of yesterday along the Bayelsa State stretch of the East-West road when an unidentified passenger vehicle plunged into the Okoso river following a collision with another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
It was gathered that the poor state of the road may have been partly responsible for the tragic accident coupled with likely fatigue on the part of the drivers as well as poor visibility and lack of road signs to warn drivers of the deplorable state of the of the road.
Though the number of passengers is yet to be identified and commercial car which plunged into river could not be ascertained but the driver of the other vehicle, an old Honda car with Rivers State plate number AG 188 KHE who sustained serious injuries was rushed to an undisclosed hospital in Yenagoa.
The Okoso Bridge, scene of the tragic accident was besieged by sympathizers and other motorists who stopped by to see what assistance they could rendered to the victims.
Armed policemen and other security operatives travelling through the route were also on hand to render assistance and help direct traffic on the road to prevent gridlock given the near chaotic situation on the route.
But some of the sympathizers at the scene told Vanguard that some public spirited persons had been diving into the river in search of the vehicle and possibly survivors but to no avail.
They noted with concern that nobody had been able to identify the make of the vehicle or the number of passengers traveling in the vehicle when the accident occurred between Monday midnight and early hours of Tuesday.
According to them, only the driver of the Honda who was unconscious when he was rescued could narrate what actually happened and the fate of the occupants of the other vehicle that plunged into the river.
A resident close to the scene of accident said, “We heard a loud bang but it was difficult to describe what actually happened. When we rushed to the scene, we only saw the badly damaged Honda lying off the bridge with no sign of the other vehicle.
“The injured driver was rushed to hospital and we searched to no avail in the darkness for the other vehicle and continued again at daybreak hoping that we will rescue somebody.”
Also, a one of the local divers searching the river for the other vehicle and its occupants said all they were encountering were concrete slabs that were used to protect the side of the river from erosion caused by the strong incident current.
He showed our correspondent who visited the scene at about 7am a long bamboo pole that was used to prod the water in the course of their search stressing, “as at that time, there was no hope of finding any survivors as the victims would have been inside the river for over eight hours.