By Richard Odu
Dozens of men who were allegedly scooping premium motor spirit (pms) commonly known as petrol or fuel from a fallen tanker along the Calabar – Odukpani highway were on Friday afternoon roast to death after an explosion.
It is unclear what caused the explosion but this reporter gathered that the tanker laden with pms was heading towards Odukpani when it veered off the road after entering a pothole at high speed at a bend just after New Netim junction close to the federal housing estate at Odukpani local government area.
Eyewitnesses say the front section of the tanker pulled off from the joint with the rear section containing the product.
Dozens of residents reportedly rushed to scoop the product while others simply watched on.
An explosion is said to have occurred moments later which according to eyewitnesses, caused about dozens to roast to death including passers-by.
Some residents who may have lost colleagues or relatives in the fire stopped people from filming or photographing the bodies which were burnt beyond recognition, according to Richard Odu who witnessed the incident and reported from location.
He said it was impossible for him to immediately say the exact number of the dead because “The flame was too thick and it was risky going close. There were charred bodies in the inferno because dozens of people were caught in the flame but it is until the fire subsides that the exact number of fatalities can be confirmed. The oictire i managed to take there is one of the victims that some persons managed to pull out of the flames.”
Richard also added that, the police had arrived the scene but officials of the Road Safety Corps, were yet to arrive.
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