Eighteen persons have died in two accidents in Abia State.
The accidents occurred at Ofeme, on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway in Umuahia North Local Government Area and at Umugbalu, in Ikwuano Local Government Area.
They were reportedly caused by Sunday’s downpour.
The Ofeme accident involved a truck, with registration number JJN 782 XB, and a mass transit bus, with registration number AKL 895 YY.
Speaking with our reporter in Umuahia, the state capital, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Sector Commander Stella Uchegbu said the Ofeme accident happened at 11.20 a.m last Sunday.
She said it involved two vehicles, a MAN Diesel truck laden with yams from Enugu end of the road.
Uchegbu said the other vehicle, which belongs to Peace Mass Transit, was heading to Enugu from Umuahia.
The sector commander said the accident occurred where the reconstruction firm handling the road diverted vehicles to use a single lane because of the road repairs.
According to her an eyewitness said the truck veered off the road and ran into the lane of the oncoming mini bus.
Uchegbu said 13 persons died on the spot while two survivors, who were conveyed to a hospital, later died.
The sector commander said the bodies of the dead, including that of a five-year-old child, had been deposited at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC).
She said the driver of the truck fled after the accident.
Uchegbu said: “But we immediately informed men of the police command, who took over the scene of the accident.”
The sector commander said she had contacted the relatives of the victims through the manifest of the bus, adding that they had been identifying the bodies.
She said investigation revealed that the accident was caused by speeding and the stationary truck on the expressway.
The other accident at Umugbalu involved a nine-seater transport bus and an Akwa State Transport Company bus.
Three persons were said to have died in the accident, including a six-year-old child.
Eight others were seriously injured.
But Uchegbu said her office was not aware of the accident.
It was learnt that all the victims were taken to Madonna Hospital in Umuahia.