The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) said on Thursday it had recovered 95 bodies from the area where a tanker burst into flames at Okobie, Rivers State.
The FRSC Sector Commander for Rivers State, Kayode Olagunju, said the bodies were recovered as at 11.45a.m at the village, 11 kilometres from Ahoada-Mbiama, in Ahoada West Local Government Area.
According to him, four vehicles, including the tanker, were involved in a crash early on Thursday, but the tanker caught fire when the people rushed for “free fuel.”
“People were scooping fuel from the tanker when it exploded, casualty figures is definitely high, and about 20 injured persons already taken to the hospitals,” he said.
“Thirty-four motor-cycles also got burnt,” he added.
The spokesman of the Rivers State police command, Ben Ugwuegbulam, who confirmed the incidence, said “early this morning a tanker loaded with petrol fell in Okobie and people trooped to the scene obviously to scoop the spilled fuel and suddenly there was fire resulting in casualties.”
He said it was too early to give a casualty figure.
An eyewitness said the accident occurred at about 6.30 a.m. after the tanker crashed into three other vehicles – a Toyota Corolla, a Hummer bus and a Mitshibushi bus.
Villagers then trooped to the scene of the accident to scoop fuel leaking from the petrol tanker. The tanker exploded shortly afterwards, burning scores beyond recognition.
About 20 injured persons were immediately taken to hospitals as the FRSC, the police, fire service and personnel of the Joint Task Force moved to the scene for rescue operation.