At least 95 die collecting petrol after tanker crash


At least 95 men, women and children were killed yesterday in Nigeria after a petrol tanker crashed and caught fire as people crowded around it to try to scoop up fuel, officials said.

Fuel tanker crashes are common on Nigeria’s poorly maintained roads. In a region where most people live on less than $2 a day, the chance to collect spilt petrol was too much of a temptation, despite the inordinate risk.

“The tanker driver was trying to avoid a head-on collision with two oncoming vehicles. He lost control and spilled its contents,” said Ben Ugwuegbulam, a Rivers State police spokesman.

“The villagers trooped out to scoop the spilled fuel. The driver even warned them to leave the scene and suddenly there was fire . . . the casualty figure is 95 bodies, while many more are receiving treatment in hospital.”

The National Emergency Management Agency said 95 people had been killed, adding 18 more were injured and in hospital. Charred bodies lay in piles at the crash site, limbs stripped to the bone by the flames.

Soldiers and emergency workers lifted the remains into trucks as bystanders took pictures with mobile phones.

The chief medical officer at a nearby hospital, who asked not to be named, said he had neither the medicine nor the equipment to treat patients with severe burns.

Sunday Akpara, whose brother was burned in the fireball, said: “The doctors are not attending to us, they can only give a drip to the victims and now we have to take our brother away before he dies.” – (Reuters)