Over 95 people have been killed on Thursday trying to scoop up fuel, following the crash of a gasoline tanker on the East-West road in Nigeria’s oil producing Niger Delta.
Ben Ugwuegbulam the Rivers State spokesman said “Early this morning a tanker loaded with petrol fell in Okogbe and people trooped to the scene obviously to scoop the spilled fuel and suddenly there was fire resulting in casualties”
According to Ibim Semenitari, ‘’more than 100 people were killed in the inferno from the petrol tanker, while around 50 with severe burns have been hospitalised’’.
The tanker is reported to have swerved as it was trying to avoid a collision with three oncoming vehicles including a bus said Kayode Olagunju the sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission.
Residents say that shortly after the collision, hundreds of locals flocked to the site to collect the spilling fuel. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) revealed in a statement that 93 were burned to death on the spot, two died later in hospital and 18 were seriously injured.
Many of those killed were motorcycle taxi operators who raced to fill up their tanks after learning of the crash. At least 34 motorcycles were destroyed in the blaze.
The NEMA statement said ‘rescue workers from the police, road safety, fire service, civil defence and NEMA were at the scene to evacuate victims and control the traffic.
Story: Claudia Andrews