By Onome Oghenetega
Several persons were on Wednesday reportedly burnt to death when a tanker carrying petroleum product exploded around Koko Junction section of the Benin/Sapele Expressway in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The incident, according to sources, occurred around 11am on Wednesday.
While eyewitnesses placed the number of dead persons around 20, police authorities in the state claimed only three persons were killed in the incident.
It was gathered that the victims were burnt beyond recognition while several vehicles were gutted.
“The tanker carrying petroleum product was trying to escape a bad spot when it fell and suddenly exploded between Koko Junction and Ologbo section of the Benin/Warri in Delta State.
“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 FRSC and security agencies are already here trying to remove the corpses. Many persons were injured. It’s a terrible situation”, a source eh witnessed the incident told our correspondent.
But when contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, said information available to her indicates that only three persons died at the spot of the incident.
She also told our correspondent that three vehicles aside the tanker were burnt during the explosion.
“It’s true. Three persons burnt beyond recognition. Two vehicles and three motorcycles were burnt. Several persons were injured but those that died on the spot were three.”, Onovwakpoyeya added.
Also, confirming the incident, the Delta Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Commander Godwin A. H, said only three deaths were recorded in the incident.
“The incident happened in the morning. Four vehicles were involved. Three persons are dead and three were injured. The injured ones are in Sapele”, Godwin added.
However, several sources including motorists insisted that the fatalities were far more than what the police and FRSC authorities were declaring.
Below are the pictures of the incident: