Dozens feared dead in Nigeria as leaking oil tanker explodes

  • Dozens feared dead in Nigeria as leaking oil tanker explodes

Dozens feared dead in Nigeria as leaking oil tanker explodes

Oil tanker and pipeline explosions are relatively common in Nigeria.

It was gathered that the tanker exploded along the Calabar-Odukpani Highway in Cross River State, as some residents of the area were scooping fuel from a fallen petroleum tanker.

Cross River state police spokeswoman Irene Ugbo said the blast could have been sparked by the clashing of steel containers used to scoop up the petrol.

An eye witness said the number of persons burnt would be far higher when the huge inferno subsides.

The blast happened as locals scooped up fuel from the leaking tanker, which had veered off the road before overturning.

"The police only recovered a few corpses, numerous other dead were burned to ashes", witness Richard Johnson told AP. "It is not likely that anyone inside the pit survived as there was a lot of fuel in the pit", Johnson said.

"I believe the casualty level could be more because people from other neighbouring communities had thronged the scene".

Hundreds of people have died in similar ways in recent years in the continent's largest oil producing nation.

About a year ago, more than 30 residents in the same locality were burnt to death while collecting fuel from an oil tanker involved in an accident.

At least 12 people have died in Nigeria after an overturned oil tanker exploded while they and others were gathering its leaking fuel, police and witnesses said.