No fewer than three athletes were confirmed dead, while several others sustained various degrees of injuries in a road accident involving the operational van of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Zuru Unit Command, Kebbi State on Thursday.
It was gathered that the FRSC van was overloaded with athletes conveying them to Gamji, along Zuru-Rijau road; driving recklessly on the road close to a town called Amanawa.
The athletes were said to have taken off from the Zuru Township Stadium in the FRSC van to Gamji, a starting point for the annual marathon race of about 8 kilometres to the finishing line back in the Township Stadium Zuru.
Masaudu Mangorori, one of the eyewitness said the driver of a vehicle behind the FRSC van tried to wave them down to reduce speed when suddenly, the van started swaying and eventually summersaulted with the overloaded athletes.
“We evacuated many of the victims to the nearby Army Barracks Clinic, Zuru, while others were taken to Martha Bamaiyi General Hospital, Zuru where three of them died,” he said.
Abubakar Sadiq the coach of the athletes said one of the athletes died instantly, while two others died at the hospital.
Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP) Didiye Dada of the Police Motor Traffic Department (MTD), Zuru said the unit commander alerted them of the accident when it occurred in the morning.
“The FRSC van and an ambulance were conveying the athletes to the marathon staring point in Gamji. While on their way the rear shaft of the van pulled out, which resulted to summersault of the van where many were severely injured, three others died in the hospital,” she stated.
ASP Dada gave the names of those who lost their lives as Hauwa Ibrahim, Abdulrahman Abubakar and Bello Lawal Saidu.
“As I speak with you five of the FRSC personnel including the driver are among those injured are also receiving treatment in the hospital,” she added.
The Zuru Unit Commander of FRSC could not be reached for comment.
However, the van involved in the accident was immediately towed away from the scene of the accident by the FRSC operatives.