The Dubai-based Nigerian family reported missing while travelling from Lagos to Asaba last week has  been found at last.

•The lucky kids, the doctor and the father of kids (standing). PHOTO: Emmanuel Osodi.

However, it was a tale of tragedy as three of the travellers – the mother, Edna, a Dubai-based staff  of Standard Chartered Bank, her cousin, Chinyere, who had lost her only daughter last December,  and  the driver of the chartered Toyota Camry saloon car, Godfrey Inalegwu – were found dead in a village  near Okada after their car plunged into a river, while trying to avoid a pothole. Only the three  children – Loveth, 11, Precious 8 and Golden 6  – were rescued and taken to a private hospital in  Ofumwegbe town, near Benin City, Edo State, Southsouth Nigeria. Their escape was simply miraculous,  according to the rescuers.

P.M.NEWS in its Wednesday, 2 February 2011 edition, reported that the family was missing last week  Wednesday during their trip from Lagos to Asaba in a  Toyota Camry saloon car with registration number  Lagos KU 108 EKY.

The husband of the Dubai banker, himself an accountant, Mr. Ugochukwu Onyeocha had told P.M.NEWS that  when his family left Lagos about 10.00 a.m in the  car, he communicated with his wife on phone twice,   about 11 in the morning and 3 p.m.

He  sensed  something was wrong after he lost contact thereafter, believing that the wife was in an  area where there was no phone network or that her phone was switched off. In the morning, he was  awoken by a phone call from his mother-in-law that his wife and the children were yet to arrive Asaba.  This prompted Onyeocha to involve the police. His report to the police at the State Criminal  Investigation Department, SCID, Panti, Yaba, Lagos  however yielded no immediate clue as to the  whereabouts of his family.

The police investigators told Onyeocha that the tracker in the Toyota car had shown that the car and  the occupants got missing in a village called Otu Costain in Edo State.

The missing car was located at Okada, near Benin City.

It was discovered that the family had an accident and their vehicle plunged into a river.  The  survivors were later taken to Emiloju Medical Centre, in Ofumwegbe town, near Benin City, Edo State.

The Medical Director of the centre, Dr. Mohammed Yakubu,  treated  the three children.

According to him, “On 26 January, 2011 at about 7.30 p.m, these three children were brought here by  kind-hearted villagers. They were unconscious. The villagers said the car in which they were  travelling skidded into  a river as the driver tried  to manoeuvre a pothole on the road,” Mohammed  said.

The doctor stated that the villagers with the help of policemen from a nearby police station were able  to recover the car. But their mother, her cousin and the driver were dead. Only the three children  were grasping for breath.

Dr. Mohammed said he was able to revive the three children and they were recuperating in his hospital,  this morning.

The doctor added that the villagers with the help of policemen from Iguobazuwa Divisional  Headquarters, Edo State, moved the three corpses to the mortuary of another hospital near the village.

As at the time of going to press, the father, Onyeocha, P.M.NEWS correspondent and Dr. Mohammed were  on their way to the hospital where the corpses were kept.

The tragedy  has confirmed the fears of Nigerians abroad, wary of returning home  because of the  epidemic of armed robbery, fraudsters, political violence and carnage on the  roads.

—Oluwole Adeboye/Okada