By Ushang Ewa
No fewer than six people died Wednesday night after a tanker laden with petroleum products skidded off the road and exploded at Iwuru, Biase local government area of southern Cross River State.
Iwuru is about 70 kilometers north of Calabar, the Cross River State capital and an eyewitness told VANGUARD’S Emmanuel Unah that the tanker had brake failure and skidded off the Calabar-Ikom highway into a ditch as the driver tried to maneuver and avoid oncoming vehicles.
Three soldiers, travelling in the opposite direction when the accident occurred, rushed to rescue the driver and the conductor but the tanker exploded into a bowl of fire and engulfed them said the eyewitness.
She said: “When the tanker fell into the gutter, smoke started coming out and the soldiers who were in a vehicle heading to Calabar quickly stopped their van and went to rescue the driver and the conductor but suddenly the tanker burst into flames and they were caught in the fire.”
Three soldiers were trapped in the inferno while one managed to escape with severe burns and was rushed to the Akamkpa General Hospital for medical attention.
As at Thursday by 9:00 AM, the fire was still smoldering and the body of one of the soldier was seen lying face down while those of other two were some meters away and left with just charred bones.
Captain Owolabi, the Army Public Relations Officer of the Headquarters, 13 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Calabar said he was yet to be briefed on the matter.
“I am not aware of any such incident. Let me confirm and get back to you soon,” He said.
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