12 July 2012

Cameroon: Over 100 Feared Dead in Nigerian Tanker Fire

Photo: Daily Trust
Crashed petrol tanker in Rivers State.

They were scooping fuel from an overturned oil tanker in Rivers State yesterday July 12.

Over 100 people in Okobe, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Nigeria's Rivers State were feared dead early yesterday July 12 after they swooped on an oil tanker that had overturned and began scooping the fuel.

The BBC said more than 100 people died when the tanker suddenly caught fire. A mass burial of those burnt beyond recognition was being organised while about 35 people had been taken to hospital. An eye witness told the BBC she had counted more than 100 dead bodies.

The Daily Times of Nigeria quoted the spokesman of the Rivers State Command, Ben Ugwuegbulam as saying the extent of damage and casualty figure were not immediately known, but security agents had been dispatched to the scene. He said the police had cordoned off the area to ensure that miscreants did not take the law into their hands, adding that investigations had been lodged into the cause of the inferno.

According to the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), the petrol tanker crashed with three other vehicles, 11 km from Ahoada-Mbiama on the east-west road. It was gathered that the vehicle did not immediately burst into flames, and as a result, people scrambled for free fuel.

Al Jazeera Television said the death toll was still unknown, but officials expected it to be much higher than the 50 earlier confirmed. A witness told Reuters news agency that he counted 92 dead bodies of men, women and children. Hundreds of people were said to have crowded around the scene of the tragedy as soldiers and emergency workers lifted bodies into ambulances and police trucks. The fuel tanker was a pile of smouldering ash, twisted metal and melting tyres, the reporters said.

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