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Jul 7, 2010

Bowen and Bowen freight spills onto highway

Traffic was backed up on the Hummingbird Highway since Tuesday night, when a freight container loaded with eighteen hundred cases of Bowen and Bowen products over turned. The cargo vehicle could not make it up one of the hills at mile twenty nine sometime around eight on Tuesday night. It careened downhill and plunged onto its side, destroying several thousand dollars worth of the beverages onboard.  The driver and sideman jumped out of the vehicle to avoid injuries. The incident, however, did create quite a bottleneck for motorists using that portion of the Highway. Marion Ali was there to get the sights and sounds.

Marion Ali

“Portions of the Hummingbird Highway have been known to be treacherous to motorists, primarily those who drive huge containers such as this one behind me that could not make it up this steep hill on Tuesday night.”

The container had careened down the hill and landed on its side across the highway at a curve at mile twenty-nine.  When we arrived on the scene at around eleven-thirty this morning, it was still across the highway and Bowen and Bowen employees and volunteers were trying to clear away the damaged drinks and transfer the salvageable ones to another container to transport them to their destination in Punta Gorda.  For the workers, the all night effort has been a daunting task.

Mariano Ack, Salesman, Bowen & Bowen, Stann Creek District

mariano ack

“Dis dah wah container for Mr. Johnson from PG. So it’s a combined work together so we decide we should stop and give him a hand so dat ih could move faster from off di street.”

Marion Ali

“It’s a painstaking job isn’t it?”

Mariano Ack

“Yes, dangerous, very dangerous; all bruk up bottles, all kinda thing. Soft drink bottles, due to the pressure een deh, di gas, it’s dangerous, very dangerous cause yoh could get minor cuts, bottle could bust in your face and juck yoh in your and get cut up all bout like dat little guy did. He get cut right above his eye.”

Marion Ali

“How long more do you think before this is all done?”

Mariano Ack

“To get rid of the bottles—the bottle is the dangerous one—to get rid of the bottles maybe it’s another hour and a half to two hours.  Lots of damages; we got soft drinks, we got beers to the front and other stuff that the trailer hauls.”

The road is not yet clear and won’t completely be until around nine or ten tonight by all estimations, but in order to control the flow of traffic on that busy thoroughfare throughout today, it took an effort by the Ministry of Works Engineering unit.

Luke Moreira, Ministry of Works, Belmopan

luke moreira

“Fi we job dah fi stop traffic from dis side mek di one pan dis side come mek two ah dehn noh interlock to one another.”

Marion Ali

“How long have you been out there doing that?”

Luke Moreira

“Actually, I deh out yah from last night, noh sleep yet. We gone pan wah two hours break, just refresh up and come right out back again.”

eric calles

Eric Calles, Exec. Engineer, Ministry of Works

“When we reached here last night the highway was completely blocked so we got the assistance of an excavator that was stalled here because of the accident. With the assistance of the loader from Ministry of Works, we managed to create the diversion for traffic to flow by cutting on the embankment.”

Marion Ali

“How long did that process take to create that space?”

Luke Moreira

“That was a couple hours.”

Marion Ali

“What had to be done?”

Luke Moreira

“First of all, we had to cut the edge of the hill there and place the material on the drain and then compact it so that the vehicles could ride it.”

But only regular vehicles and small trucks were allowed to pass until around two o’clock this afternoon when the container was pushed to the side of the highway and a wider space was created to accommodate large containers which had been waiting in line off the highway to pass.  One such truck driver is Rollin Burgess, a fleet driver for the Belize Natural Energy.

Rollin Burgess, Fleet Driver, BNE

“Apparently what happened was that the guy was going up he stopped at the foot of the hill and put it in first gear and he was going very slow he started skidding and skidding and couldn’t make the hill. So he asked the guys to jump out and he jumped out and that’s what caused this accident right here.”

Marion Ali

“But as an experienced driver yourself, how do you avoid these types of incidents from happening and when the vehicle just absolutely fails what do you do?”

Rollin Burgess

“Well, first thing you do is apply your brakes and you should have good brakes travelling in this part of the highways. And if you don’t have good brakes it’s better not to come in the hills if you don’t have the experience.  If you don’t have sufficient brakes and things like this happen try to put it in the banking because it happened more than one times to drivers. In my experience I have through here, it never happened to me yet, but I see other guys, it happen to other guys and they put it in the banking there. But what happened is with this guy it was night and if you don’t have the experience to put it there then this is what occur.”

Aside from the inconvenience of having to wait an entire day to get their cargo from point A to point B, when an incident such as last night’s occurs, it causes significant financial burdens to the people caught in the traffic jam.

Rollin Burgess

“We lose the day and the truck even lose the day because we have certain amount that we have for the week. So like this now we can’t lef—the time we go, we can’t get a load so we can’t come back to the port to discharge. So that’s a lost day for me and for the owner of the truck.”

Marion Ali

“You’re not getting paid for the day?”

Rollin Burgess

“No, because we get paid by trips. So if we don’t make the trip we don’t get paid.”

Mariano Ack

“This is first time I experience one like this. We have minor thing, but not to certain extent. Dis dah one weh we experience. We had one many years ago but dis dah di next one weh just happen.”

Truck Driver

“I deh yah from this morning from seven-thirty.”

Marion Ali

“You’re running sand to where?”

Truck Driver

“To Belize City by the Port.”

Marion Ali

“So business delayed for you.”

Truck Driver

“Yeah business delayed fi me bad because I need to reach bout twelve o’clock dah Belize City and I can’t pass right now.”

The best advice according to Ministry of Works Engineer, Eric Calles, is to make sure your vehicle is in good running condition and to try to steer your vehicle onto the embankment in order to avoid future incidents like this one.

Eric Calles

“The Hummingbird Highway on a whole is treacherous and also it causes a lot of drivers to panic and they can’t make it up the hills and that causes a lot of incidents.”

Reporting for News Five, Marion Ali.

The driver of the freight container is thirty six year old Jack Ranguy; he was not injured in the mishap.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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9 Responses for “Bowen and Bowen freight spills onto highway”

  1. arkw says:

    Correction: The truck is not a bowen n bowen truck, its a private owned truck.
    Reasons for accident: Inexpierenced driver maybe, 1,800 crates soft drinks at around 50 lbs each that would give 90,000 lbs plus the truck and trailer which weigh around 30,000 lbs , so this rig weighed around 120,000 lbs . that is much to heavy for any road much worse for the hummingbird hills with a truck in bad mechanical condition. The trailer wheels were able to spin while the trailer was on side that means there is no brakes on trailer because the park brakes would have locked the wheels if it had brakes. the truck had 3 leaking wheel oil seals and brakes that have oil simply dont brake. That leaves 1 wheel brake on truck with 120,000 lbs rig. This is how most trucks from south operate and usually no tail lights . Transport department has a lot of work to do.

  2. Earl Grey says:

    Thank GOD that it was not “Light Sweet Crude”………………………

  3. James says:

    ministry of work and the prime minster fix the hummung bird highway.

  4. tim says:

    and who paid the ministry of work to get all BS sorted out? is it bowen and bowen, the truck owener or us the tax payers?

  5. Henry Bowen says:

    arkw…u need to get ur facts straight b4 making stupid comments like this one! Those trucks are service b4 and after every trip it makes. Trucks mishaps can happen to anyone. If u r a truck driver then u should b fully aware of that. We should thank the Good Lord that there was no casualty…..

  6. Mrs.Williams says:

    Well My family owns this truck..not only this 6 other trucks as well, and we make sure ALL our trucks are in good working condition before going on the road, NO “BAD MECHANICAL CONDITION” NO NOTHING to that effect, ALL our drivers are well experienced drivers, and this particular driver Mr. Ranguy drives that same truck and trailer twice EVERY week on that SAME road and never in all his years driving got in any accident… On this night the road was really wet and the truck started slipping back down that hill, he tried stopping it with his park brakes and all even jacking the wheels with blocks and rocks, but tell me who can stop a truck that size with a load that heavy from going back down a hill?? if any of you can PLZ let me know… Anyway Thank God all the people on the truck go off safe..

  7. mark says:

    thank God the driver and side man are Ok.. But really the truck is too heavy to be one the road in Belize .. not only to Bowen and Bowen trucks but also, all freight truck pulling heavy cargo; stone, oranges, sugar Belize have no regulation on the weight capacity of the truck it not only destroys the roads itself but can cause tragic accidents.. But again thank God no one was hurt.

  8. pimpin says:

    dat da my bally… rollin aka : babi burgess,,,…. he da wah t.v star…… he da wah illl truck driver… yea mein di road was slippery check… i dint think no inexperience driver would be driving pan dat road so arkw… you neven mussy knw how fi drive a truck.. you tell me what you woulda do… so noh di hollerz inexperience driver maybe….. get yu stats rite…

  9. arkw says:

    henry bowen: i think the bowen n bowen fleet of trucks are one of the few fleets in belize that are well maintained and i trust that all bowen n bowen trucks have good brakes. This truck was not a bowen n bowen truck. this accident could and would have been avoided if this truck had good brakes. Most people i talked to say a case of drinks weighs more like 40 lbs so that makes the load lighter and with brakes on all 18 wheels this truck would have parked on that hill with no problems.

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