AFCON 2023: Nigerian journalists narrowly escape tragedy in terrifying bus accident

A group of over 30 journalists, including four Nigerians, had a narrow escape from a potentially fatal bus accident while returning from Yamoussoukro to Abidjan after covering the final group stage matches of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Wednesday.

The harrowing incident unfolded around 4:30 am East Africa Time, just minutes away from reaching the AFCON Main Media Centre in Abidjan. The bus, carrying journalists who had covered the matches between Senegal vs Guinea and Angola vs Burkina Faso, veered off the road, colliding with concrete barriers in a shocking turn of events.

Displaying remarkable resilience reminiscent of their professional tenacity, journalists quickly evacuated the bus through windows in a desperate bid for safety. Injuries resulting from the accident ranged from minor fractures and cuts to more serious conditions.

Seun Oyejidi, a Nigerian journalist associated with Kick442, shared the ordeal on social media, saying, “Thank God for life. Saved from an auto accident with a convoy of journalists returning from Yamoussoukro to Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire after covering Senegal vs Guinea match. The sweat and pain behind the work of a journalist.”

While another journalist, Hassan Abdulsalam poste: “Thank God for safety. The bus that conveyed journalists from Yamoussoukro (Venue of Senegal’s game) to Abidjan had an accident earlier this morning. Little injuries were sustained by colleagues, No injuries, I am fine and safe. Alhamdulilah.”

Adeniyi Muyiwa also posted: “AFCON Diary. It would have been “RIP Mayor” this morning. After the Angola and Burkina Faso game, on our way back to Abidjan from Yamoussukro, we had this accident, and I got my left hand twisted. I was alseep when everything happened, at about.2:30am.

“But, I’m back stronger after taken two drips at the hospital (pix can’t be posted for a reason). Na to buy drugs wey dem prescribed remain now. Make body fit for the next task ahead. Kojubelo.”

Emergency responders were swift to arrive at the scene, transporting the injured journalists to the University Centre Hospital in Treichville and another facility in Abidjan. At the hospitals, officials from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and volunteer doctors provided immediate support and assessed the severity of the injuries.

A statement from the Local Organizing Committee (COCAN) acknowledged the gravity of the incident, stating, “We regret to inform that the convoy of journalists covering AFCON 2023 was involved in a tragic bus accident during the return from Yamoussoukro to Abidjan around 2 a.m. Fortunately, most of those on board suffered minor injuries.”

“The injured were urgently transported to the University Hospital Center (CHU) in Treichville to receive the necessary care. We are in close contact with the medical authorities to ensure appropriate monitoring of their state of health,” the statement added.

“Our thoughts are with the injured and their families during this difficult time. We would like to express our gratitude to the rescuers and medical teams who are currently working on the scene and at the Treichville University Hospital. We continue to provide regular updates as the situation evolves. The safety and well-being of our fellow journalists remain our priority.”

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