Owerri — About 10 traditional wedding guests were yesterday feared dead at Umuomumu in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State by suspected generator fume in the house of the host of the marriage ceremony.
The affected victims said to be 50 in number had stayed back after the traditional wedding ceremony of Favour and Ifeanyi Nzegbu to savour the joy of the moment and had gone to bed while an electricity generator was on inside part of the house they were sleeping.
It was further gathered that a brother to one of the victims, who was worried that he had not come back, had called his brother's phone repeatedly without response.
When he got no response, he decided to go to the house to check out.
When all the other doors were forced open, the victims were brought outside one after the other by wailing neighbours. Four persons were said to have died on the spot.
An eyewitness and leader of the community, Mr. Martins Ezuruike, said when his attention was drawn to the incident, he rushed there to observe the evacuation of the victims to the hospital. Some were rushed to the Ikeduru Hospital, while others were rushed to Nworieubi Health Centre in the state.
Ezuruike said he had to release his car to assist in the evacuation of the victims before the arrival of policemen.
The Ikeduru Hospital Administrator, Dr. Austine Agbahiwe, told THISDAY that 20 people were rushed to the hospital.
He said some people were brought in dead while 17 have regained consciousness and are being treated with life support machines.
According to him, "We were able to revive 17 people out of the 20 people brought to the hospital, while three were brought in dead. The survivors are on oxygen and are responding well to treatment.
"We are now battling to ensure that the survivors come out of coma and are stable.
When THISDAY visited the community, there was grief as the people gathered in clusters to discuss the development.
Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, said: "At about 0800hrs of today (yesterday) one Herbert Uzoegbu reported that his brother Raymond hosted the traditional wedding of his daughter the previous day, which eventually lasted till late at night, and that he went to check on his brother in the morning (Monday) around 0700hrs only to discover that they were still indoors.
"He knocked but no one answered, he broke into the house and discovered that everyone in the house was unconscious, and consequently alerted the police. A team of policemen led by the CSP Godwin Udom arrived at the scene and evacuated all the victims to the hospital, and was discovered that six had already died with about 23 people unconscious."
Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police has ordered a full scale investigation into the incident with a view to unravel the misery behind the tragedy.