A retired Air Vice-Marshal, Olufunsho Martins, and his driver, identified only as Ayodele, have drowned in the Lagos Lagoon.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Martins had recently returned to Lagos from the United Kingdom for the burial of his friend’s wife.
He was said to be the chairman of the burial committee.
He was reportedly returning to his house on Funsho Martins Avenue, Park View Estate, Ikoyi, on Saturday, after a meeting in Ikeja, when his Ford Explorer Sport Utility Vehicle had a collision with another car on the Third Mainland Bridge around 11pm.
Our correspondent gathered that the victim, who owned Martinos Events Centre and Hotel Suites in Agidingbi, Ikeja, fell into the lagoon with his driver, and was trapped in the mangled vehicle.
Their bodies were later recovered by officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency around 2am on Sunday.
A source said the occupant of the second vehicle escaped from the scene.
He said, “The man (Martins) recently retired from service. He had a house in Ikoyi, but his children are based in the United Kingdom. He came back from the UK on Tuesday for the burial of the wife of another retired air vice-marshal
“He left his hotel in Ikeja and was returning home after a meeting when the vehicle had a collision with another car on the bridge. His SUV somersaulted several times before falling into the lagoon. The occupant of the other vehicle drove off.”
PUNCH Metro gathered that motorists who witnessed the accident alerted fishermen in the area, as well as emergency workers.
It was learnt that officials of LASEMA, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and Federal Road Safety Corps, responded to the incident.
A worker with LASEMA said, “The accident happened around 11.15pm at the University of Lagos Waterfront end of the bridge. The vehicle was discovered in less than one hour. But bringing out the bodies was difficult because they were badly mangled. ”
PUNCH Metro learnt that children of the retired vice-marshal had started returning home in preparation for the burial of their father.
The General Manager of LASEMA, Adeshina Tiamiyu, confirmed the incident, adding that investigations were ongoing.
He said, “We received a distress call to our call centre around 11pm and we dispatched our rescue team to the scene. After some time, we recovered the bodies of two men in the car. Their families have been contacted.”
A family member of the deceased, Kenny Martins, who posted about the incident on Facebook, also confirmed the death.
He said, “So tragic; so sad. We lost my cousin, Air Vice-Marshal Olufunsho Martins, yesterday (Saturday) in a Third Mainland Bridge accident. May the good Lord grant repose to the soul of the departed and give succour to the bereaved. He giveth and He taketh. But Lord, why do the good ones leave so early?”
A manager at Martinos hotel, Adewale Ogunleye, told our correspondent on the telephone that the hotel was mourning the death of its chairman.