PORT OF SPAIN – Penal mechanic Deodath Ramjag escaped death yesterday when a truck transporting an oil rig ripped down high tension wires and a caused a concrete electricity pole to crash on top his car during a routine drive to a poultry depot.
The impact sunk the hood of the Nissan B-13 and broke the windscreen on the front passenger side.
The 53-year-old father of three was on his way to buy chicken for his wife Sandra to cook their Sunday lunch around 8 am, when the incident occured.
In an interview, Ramjag, of Sunrees Road, said he was driving along Ramjohn Trace when upon reaching near the Dayanand Memorial APS (Vedic) School, he pulled over to allow the truck to pass.
“When I thought it was safe to go because the back was clear, I pulled off. Then suddenly there was fire and sparks and a loud bradang. Then the hood came down on top of me,” Ramjag said.
Shaken from the ordeal, Ramjag was taken to the Siparia Health facility where he was given medication to calm down. He suffered injuries to his head, hand and left side.
After being discharged from the facility Ramjag said, he took his pills and slept for several hours.
His wife, who usually went with him to buy chicken on a Sundays, did not accompany him yesterday.
“She told me she was not felling well and that was how I went alone, else if she was with me, she would be dead,” Ramjag said.
He called on the authorities to ensure that companies adhered to road rules, noting there was no police escort for the rig.
“Normally, they should not have a vehicle of that size passing on Ramjohn Trace. It should be on the main road,” Ramjag said.
He said that the rig became entangled in the high tension lines which caused the concrete electricity pole to tumble.
“I am happy that I survived this. I have to give thanks,” Ramjag said.
His son, Dion, said he could also have been dead if he had gone with his father to run errands yesterday.
“We are Hindus. We have to plan a prayers because we are really fortunate that my father survived this,” Dion said.
The incident caused a blackout for several hours as T&TEC crews repaired the fallen lines.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation Dr Allen Sammy has launched an investigation to determine on whose authority the truck and the rig were allowed to travel on Ramjohn Trace.
He said usually a health and safety officer was present, along with police escort, depending on the size of the rig.
“I will ask Insp Lalla to do an investigation because Ramjohn Trace is a minor road and heavy vehicles are not allowed in there,” Sammy said.
Former chairman Premchand Sookoo also confirmed that no vehicle over five tonnes was allowed on minor roads.
He also said once a heavy vehicle was on the road, there must be written permission from the Transport Commissioner as well as police escort. Police investigators said they are unclear who owned the rig.
Senior Supt of the South Western Division Inraj Balram could not say whether the police was contacted to provide escort to the truck.
He said an enquiry was underway to determine who was the owner of the rig.