By Lamin Fatty
An 18-passenger vehicle involved in a fatal accident has claimed three lives on the spot.
The accident, which happened on Thursday 28th October 2021, took place between Nyakoi and Basse in Upper River Region (URR).
Eyewitnesses say the driver was running at a high speed and lost control at a bend, thus he hit the tractor, whose driver abandoned and ran away when he saw the 18-passenger vehicle coming towards his vehicle uncontrolled.
The 18-passenger (“gelegele”) vehicle was carrying 17 people and among them were 9 Mauritanians, including 2 children under five years and a Senegalese, plus the driver and his apprentice who are both Gambians.
The three deaths are two Mauritanians- man and woman, and the driver. 12 were injured and six among them are in critical condition, while two children involved are fine.
According to an eyewitness, Ebrima Jabbi from Nyakoi Taibatou, he was sitting at his watermelon farm beside the highway when he saw the aforesaid vehicle coming from Basse towards Nyakoi at a very high speed.
“The moment I saw this vehicle speeding, I stood up from where I was sitting. By then, a tractor was also coming from Nyakoi going towards Basse. When the tractor driver saw this ‘gelegele’ coming in such a way from a distance, he may realize that the way and manner this vehicle was running has lost control. I then saw the tractor driver quickly went off the road and his colleagues abandoned the tractor and ran away,” Jabbi said.
He added that the time the ‘gelegele’ vehicle hit the tractor and it somersaulted into the gutter along the road side.
This medium visited the Basse District Hospital where the victims were admitted. The officer in charge at the hospital, Baatou Camara, confirmed the three deaths.
“In total, 17 were involved in the accident and three were dead before reaching the hospital and six are in very critical condition who are referred to Bansang Hospital. The rest, some are at the x-ray and most of them would be referred also. [We] are just trying to stabilize their condition then refer them,” Camara explained.
The regional governor for URR, Samba Bah, also visited the victims at hospital and extended his condolences to the grieving families. He also commended the hospital staff and the police for exercising professionalism.
The Police PRO, Spt. Lamin Njie, also confirmed the three deaths.
“Among them are two Mauritanians, a man and a woman, and also the driver who is a Gambian,” the PRO said.