As many as 25 soldiers have been involved in a very serious motor accident on the Calabar highway.
The incident happened Friday night. Four others are in a very critical condition.
According to eyewitnesses, five female soldiers sustained varying degrees of injuries. Many of them had their heads smashed.
They were immediately rushed to the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, Calabar.
Findings by newsmen indicated that they left their 13 Brigade headquarters in Calabar at about 4.00 pm to the Brigadier Ally Army Cantonment in Ogoja, northern Cross River State.
A source disclosed that the truck driver, who was over speeding, could not readily see a newly erected speed breaker.
“When he slammed on the brake, the vehicle veered off and crashed into a 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 told journalists.
Ekpeta added that the heavy drain made the tarred road slippery, besides the poor visibility.
“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 eyewitness said.
The owner of the Sienna bus, John Elo said he kept the car for sale and appealed that the military authorities should assist in replacing the bus.
At the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital where the wounded soldiers were rushed to, Dr. Oyi, the head of the emergency unit at the Navy hospital confirmed that 25 soldiers were brought to their facility.
However, he said two were later taken to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH.
An army Captain, H. I. Audu, said, “it was an accident and our major concern now is how to save the lives of our soldiers”.