By Emma Una
CALABAR- TWENTY soldiers were on Saturday evening rushed to the Nigerian Navy Hospital after a military truck conveying them crashed at the Beebosco bus stop along the Murtala Mohammed Highway in Calabar.
Four of the soldiers are in critical state while twenty one others including five females sustained various wounds with some having their eyes burst, some fractured arms and legs.
The truck which left the 34 Nigerian Arny Brigade headquartres in Calabar at about 4.00 pm was said to be heading to the Brigadier Ally Army Cantonment in Ogoja with a unit of troops headed by a major for operations duty in the northern part of Cross River State.
The truck driver according to a source, was driving under the influence of alcohol causing him to over speed and at the Beebosco bus stop he came upon a line of cars which had built up at a recently erected speed breaker and he suddenly applied breaks causing the truck to swerve to the right and crashed into a stationary sienna parked at a car stand for sale.
“The sienna was a saving grace otherwise the bus would have ended inside the drain which takes water into the Beebosco water channel and that would have been a major tragedy” Emmanuel Ekpeta, a car dealer stated.
He said the ground was slippery following a down pour in the city which made the truck driver not to see far and ought to have been more careful.
“The soldiers who crashed into the gutter are the ones most affected because they suffered broken skulls and foreheads. They were taken out of the drain unconscious drenched in blood” the eye witness said.
Mr John Eluu, the owner of the sienna bus flattened by the truck said he kept the car for sale and appealed that the military authorities should assist by replacing the bus.
“I brought it to this car stand some days ago for sale and this is my source of livelihood. The army should please help me by replacing my bus because as you can see, the vehicle is completely destroyed”.
At the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital where the wounded soldiers were rushed to, Dr Oyi the head of the emergency unit said twenty five soldiers were taken there but two were later taken to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, while twenty three are undergoing various treatments there.
Captain H I Audu, who spoke with Vanguard at the Nigerian Navy Hospital said “it was an accident and our major concern now is how to safe the lives of our soldiers”.