The deadly fuel tanker explosion that hit the Okogbe community in Rivers State has killed over 200 people, officials have said.
The Rivers State Comissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, who was at the gruesome scene of the accident said, “the corpses that I counted alone were over 200 and they have not finished counting. It is cremation; some were burnt to ashes.”
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At least 50 more were injured in the explosion as well and are currently receiving treatment, many of them for 75 percent degree burns, at the Adoha General Hospital.
One survivor who spoke to the Punch likened the horrid accident to an earthquake.
“Many of them could not come out alive,” the panic-stricken survivor said.
He said his car was one of the many burnt in the explosion. He lives to tell the story because he abandoned his car and ran after the fuel tanker swerved into a ditch and overturned.
Despite the new figures, Dr. Kayode Olagunju, the state’s sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, insists that the death toll remains at 95 persons who were killed when they went to the scene of the accident to scoop fuel.
He said the fatal accident, which occurred at about 6:30 a.m. on Thursday morning on East-West Road in Okogbe, destroyed three other vehicles and 34 motorbikes.
“People were scooping fuel from the fallen tanker when it (tanker) exploded. Ninety-three persons died on the spot, two died in the hospital while 18 persons were injured.”
However, residents of the area dispute the figure, putting the number of people killed at well above 200, and many of them women and children.