Six persons including two children and a heavily pregnant woman died after a car suffered a tyre blow-out on the East Coast Demerara (ECD) Highway at Bel Air, near the now abandoned Texaco Gas Station causing the driver to slam head-on into a concrete fence and a guard hut.
The security guard who was in the hut situated just outside the compound of the Shivraj’s Oceanville apartments is among the six killed. He died several hours after the incident. The other five victims were passengers of the car and were killed instantly.
Dead are the driver of the car Anil Singh, 26, his pregnant reputed wife Famheda Bacchus, 24, both of Block ‘CC’, Agriculture Road, Mon Repos; Singh’s sister, Renika Singh, 25 of M2 Phillipe, Ogle Front; cousins’ 12-year-old Alasie Samaroo and 11-year-old Sheerza Pooran of Block 8, Mon Repos and the security guard, Nandram Ramgopaul, 57, of Sparendaam, ECD.
The car was heading in the direction of Georgetown just around midday and according to reports, it was trying to pass a mini-bus when one of the tyres suffered a blow-out and separated from the vehicle. Singh, who was said to be driving at a fast rate lost control of the car and began swerving. A sign showing the speed limit was knocked down before the vehicle slammed into a concrete wall and crumpled. Residents said that they heard a loud noise, followed by the sound of a crash. Upon rushing outside they were confronted by the horrifying sight. The persons in the car all appeared to have died on the spot.
The automobile was completely crushed and pieces of it were scattered around the surrounding area. The engine, the transmission and the bonnet of the car were knocked completely off and landed some distance away and pieces of glass, lights and other material littered the site. A large crowd flocked the area as news spread of the tragedy which comes almost two weeks after 10 persons were killed in a bus accident at Amelia’s Ward, Linden. There were reports of a man attempting to grab a hand-bag from one of the victims but he was arrested by police.
The scene was one of chaos, sorrow and utter disbelief just minutes after the incident occurred and the bodies of the dead were left lying on the grass near the wreck. The injured Ramgopaul was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital in an unconscious state. He sustained severe injuries to his head and was covered in blood.
At the hospital many of the man’s relatives gathered as they awaited word from the doctors who were working tirelessly on him in the emergency room. However his injuries were far too serious for much action to be taken. He died a little before 3 pm without regaining consciousness.
At the scene, persons scampered to get a first-hand look of the carnage even as police awaited barricades, which they hastily put up when they eventually arrived. Due to the state of the car and the hut it appeared virtually impossible for anyone to survive. The chair that the security guard was sitting in was covered in blood and its right side was broken. The guard’s red cap was lying a few metres away. The engine of the car was flung from the hood of the car on impact and came to rest just behind where the hut once stood.
After some time, some of the bodies were carried away and as relatives arrived at the site, screams resounded and tears flowed.
Acting Commissioner of Police, Henry Greene, who was at the scene declared that the accident was “sad” and “unfortunate”. He alluded to the Linden crash and called on citizens to be conscious when using the roadways.
As onlookers recalled the Linden tragedy, many expressed disbelief. “Them man them ain’t taking their time”, one man declared.
Savita Singh, the Singhs’ sister-in-law told reporters that her relatives were going to Parika. She said that Anil had been driving for a couple of years. Another relative, in expressing his disbelief said that Anil did not drink alcohol and he had told him to be careful.
Grief, disbelief and pain were evident at all the victims’ homes when Stabroek News visited as relatives gathered and tents were being set up to keep ‘wakes’.
At the Singh’s home yesterday numerous relatives gathered and grief was visible in every face. Anil who was an auto-electrician and Renika were described as persons who never showed “bad face”. Their 60-year-old mother, upon hearing of the accident had to be taken to the hospital after collapsing. The Singhs leave to mourn their mother, two brothers and other relatives.
Meanwhile at the Bacchus’s dwelling, Famheda’s father, Shiraz, told Stabroek News that he was sleeping when a relative came and informed him that there had been an accident and his daughter was involved. “I couldn’t believe it though”, the grief-stricken man said. He later saw the scenes on television. The distressed man lamented his daughter’s demise noting that she had been eight months pregnant. “Next month I woulda been a grandfather boy”, he stated adding that his only daughter was “the most loving person that it got around”. He said that Famheda had been a teacher until she got pregnant. She and Anil had started living together over a year ago. She leaves to mourn her parents, brother and other relatives.
Alasie’s father Ravindra learnt that his only daughter was involved in an accident when he looked at the television. While he did not recognize her, the news that she had succumbed was shortly after broken to him. He last saw his daughter when her aunt Famheda came to collect her to take her to Parika and he did not get to tell her goodbye.
The Annandale Secondary school student was described as “very bright, quiet and mannerly”. She leaves to mourn her parents, brother and other relatives.
Unable to hold back tears, Sheerza’s father, Sunil recalled his daughter’s aim to do well in the National Grade Six examination and attend Queen’s College. He was at work when his son came to tell him that Sheerza had been in an accident. On the way to the site, he was informed that she had died. He recalled that he last saw his daughter early yesterday morning and had wanted to tell her not to go to Parika but didn’t get the chance. The Mon Repos Primary School student was described as talkative and as a person who liked to make jokes. The fourth of six siblings, she leaves to mourn her parents, siblings and other relatives.
When Stabroek News visited Ramgopaul’s home, persons there said that they did not have details and were awaiting his relatives.