No fewer than seventeen people were reportedly burnt to death, while some others were seriously injured following a petroleum tanker explosion around Koko Junction along the Benin/Sapele Expressway in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State on Wednesday.
But the police confirmed that three people were burnt beyond recognition in the tanker explosion which left many other victims with injuries.
Eyewitnesses said that the incident occurred at about 11.00 a.m when the tanker laden with petroleum product suddenly fell as the driver was manoeuvring a bad portion of the express road.
Consequently, the petroleum product spilled on the ever-busy highway and resulted in an explosion.
Sources said that several victims were burnt beyond recognition while no fewer than 10 vehicles were gutted by the inferno.
One of our sources said, “More than 20 persons were burnt beyond recognition.
“About 10 vehicles were trapped in the explosion. The victims were occupants of the burnt vehicles”.
Officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission and security agencies later moved to the scene making frantic efforts to remove the corpses while some of those injured were rushed to the nearest hospitals.
“Many persons were injured. It’s a terrible situation”, another source told our correspondent.
When contacted, the Commissioner of Police for Delta State Command, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa confirmed the incident but directed our correspondent to the Command’s spokesperson, DSP Onome Onovwakloyeya for details.
The PPRO stated that “three victims were burnt beyond recognition on the spot” while some vehicles and motorcycles were also razed in the tanker explosion.