Several Feared Dead As Tanker Explosion Causes Fiery Carnage On East-West Road In Rivers

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An unconfirmed number of persons have been feared dead after a tanker carrying petroleum products burst into flames in Rivers State.

The devastating incident happened on Friday night along the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, which has long been neglected, increasing motorists’ risks.

Reports suggest that the tragedy was triggered when the tanker, navigating the dilapidated road, was hit by another heavy-duty vehicle, igniting flames and an explosion.

The ensuing inferno engulfed several other vehicles along the road, with occupants said to be trapped and unable to escape the fire, which spread rapidly.

Videos and witness accounts shared on social media paint a harrowing picture.

One of the videos posted on Facebook by Egwunyenga Victor Ifechukwu showed up to 11 vehicles, including four trucks, on fire.

The video had a narrative by a man who said the fire almost engulfed a car he was in with his friend, The witness decried the state of the road and the absence of prompt emergency response.

“This is colossal damage,” he said. “You can imagine. For hours, no fire service…”

It is believed that while many people fled their vehicles as the flames spread, some were not as lucky.

“I cried so badly because (goods worth) millions were burnt down, and many trucks loaded with cleared goods by Nigerian Customs from the wharf, trucks with other goods, company staff bus with staff going back home from office, and commercial buses from Cross Rivers State, Akwa Ibom State, and other parts were caught in the inferno,” another witness wrote.

The full extent of the damage caused by the inferno and the casualty figures remains unclear. It is expected that emergency officials will provide more details subsequently.

The Eleme axis of the East-West road has been notorious for its hazardous conditions, prompting repeated protests from concerned citizens demanding urgent repairs.

While the Federal Government recently initiated the rehabilitation of the road, the pace of work has been criticised as slow.

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