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Five Dead, 70 Cars Destroyed in Rivers Tanker Blast

A devastating incident rocked the Eleme section of the East-West Road in Rivers State, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

Beyond Boders gathered that five individuals lost their lives, and a staggering 70 cars were engulfed in flames during a tanker explosion that occurred on Friday night.

Eyewitnesses recounted the horrifying scene, describing how a tanker carrying petrol collided with a heavy-duty truck, triggering a massive explosion.

The inferno quickly spread along the Akpajo-Onne Road, consuming numerous vehicles trapped in the ensuing gridlock.

Baridi, one of the eyewitnesses, lamented the lack of alternative routes due to the ongoing road construction, which exacerbated the situation.

“You know that because of the bad road, there is no alternative route so many vehicles were caught in the fire.

“Some people inside their vehicles who tried to escape the fire were trapped in the fire and died.”

Precious, a motorist caught in the chaos, shared the harrowing experience of witnessing the disaster unfold.

“So it was difficult for me even to reverse my vehicle. We meandered and packed somewhere. Only for us to come back and see that more than 100 vehicles were burnt. There are people burnt in their vehicles and some people running were also caught in the inferno,” he recalled.

The reconstruction of the road came under scrutiny as locals pointed out its role in exacerbating the tragedy.

Precious emphasized the need for faster construction and better traffic management to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Confirming the grim casualty count, Grace Iringe-Koko, spokesperson for the State Police Command, revealed that five individuals had lost their lives.

She assured that law enforcement was actively engaged to maintain order in the aftermath of the disaster.

Governor Siminalayi Fubara is slated to visit the scene, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

Moreover, law enforcement agencies, including the State Commissioner of Police and personnel from the Eleme Police Division and Federal Road Safety Corps, have been working tirelessly since the incident occurred.

Firefighters from various agencies, including the Indorama Petrochemical Company, battled the blaze for two hours before finally extinguishing it.

This calamity echoes a similar tragedy in March 2023 when 12 individuals perished in an explosion at a crude oil tapping point in Rumuekpe community, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Environmentalist Fyneface Dumnamene confirmed the incident, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by the community.

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