It was learnt that the sand being excavated from a gully at the site fell and buried the three labourers, leading to their death.
The incident led to a protest by some youths who blocked the Akwakuma end of Owerri-Orlu Expressway in the Owerri North Local Government Area of the state.
The angry youths demanded to see Governor Rochas Okorocha.
An eyewitness, Emmanuel Ndubuisi, who spoke to our correspondent at the scene of the incident, said while one of the victims, Sunny Sunday, from Akwa Ibom State, died on the spot, two others, who were believed to have sustained spinal cord injury, were feared dead.
According to Ndubuisi, the other victims were rushed to the emergency unit of an undisclosed hospital by some youths, but the doctors had yet to speak about their state of health as of the time that the eyewitness spoke to our correspondent.
Another eyewitness, who gave his name simply as John, explained that the incident, which occurred around 11.50am, caused fear among the people living and doing businesses within the area.
He said, “The victims were labourers at the proposed site for the relocation of the Owerri main market and they were working before the accident occurred. While they were working at an end of the site, which had a gully, an excavator was dredging a gutter by the roadside.
“The sand excavated from the gully fell and buried the three labourers. Before rescue could come with the aid of the excavator, one of them had died, while the two others whose spinal cords were damaged appeared to be dying before they were rushed to the hospital.”
Our correspondent saw the lifeless body of one of the victims, which was covered with a cloth as sympathisers moved to the scene.
Embittered by the tragedy, youths, numbering over 150, barricaded the expressway, singing songs and demanded to see the state governor.
While sticks and stones were used by the angry youths to block the expressway, tyres were set on fire, causing motorists to ply alternative routes.
The police spokesperson in the state, Andrew Enwerem, could not be reached as of the time of filing this report, as calls put through to his mobile phone indicated that it was not available. PLACE YOUR TEXT ADVERT BELOW:>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> How I TOTALLY Got Rid Of my POT BELLY,excess Fat and Overweight In just 2weeks.. Click HERE for Details.