At least eight dead af­ter tanker blast in Nige­ria

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

WARRI(Nige­ria): At least eight peo­ple were killed in Nige­ria when a petrol tanker veered off the road, caught fire and ex­ploded as peo­ple tried to re­cover fuel, the emer­gency ser­vices said on Satur­day.

The ve­hi­cle crashed in the Oduk­pani area of the south­east­ern state of Cross River, just north of the state cap­i­tal, Cal­abar, at about 5pm on Fri­day.

Lo­cal res­i­dents rushed to col­lect the leak­ing fuel be­fore it caught fire, trig­ger­ing the tanker blast.

The sec­tor com­man­der of the Fed­eral Road Safety Corps in Cross River, Chi­diebere Ben­jamin Nk­wonta, said: “We met eight charred bod­ies on ar­rival at the scene Fif­teen other peo­ple were se­verely burnt and in a life-threat­en­ing sit­u­a­tion. They were taken to the hos­pi­tal be­fore we got there.

“I was also in­formed that out of the 15, some of them later died but I do not have the ex­act fig­ures of the num­ber that died.”

Nk­wonta, how­ever, dis­missed lo­cal re­ports that up to 60 peo­ple were killed as “grossly over-ex­ag­ger­ated”.

Cross River state po­lice spokes­woman Irene Ugbo said ear­lier she could not con­firm the ex­act death toll but added: “The ca­su­al­ties are high.”

The blast could have been sparked by the clash­ing of steel con­tain­ers used to scoop up the petrol, she added.

One lo­cal res­i­dent, Ak­pan Imon, said at least 18 peo­ple were killed.

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