Tragedy Strikes Again: LNG Tanker Explosion Claims Three Lives in Port Harcourt

The tragic incident occurred at approximately 9:25 am on Tuesday when the tanker fell while attempting to negotiate the bypass at the flyover and immediately ignited, crushing a saloon car with three occupants inside

Port Harcourt, Nigeria — A devastating explosion caused by a tanker suspected to be carrying Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) has claimed three lives at the Obiri-Ikwerre flyover along the East-West Road on the outskirts of Port Harcourt.

The tragic incident occurred at approximately 9:25 am on Tuesday when the tanker fell while attempting to negotiate the bypass at the flyover and immediately ignited, crushing a saloon car with three occupants inside.

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This incident comes barely a month after a petrol-laden tanker exploded along the Eleme section of the East-West Road in Rivers State, claiming five lives, including a pregnant woman, and burning over 60 cars.

The recurrence of such catastrophic events has heightened concerns about tanker safety on Nigeria’s roads.

Eyewitnesses described the horrifying scene as the flames engulfed the vehicle, leaving the occupants with no chance of escape. An eyewitness who spoke to PUNCH Metro recounted the dreadful sight. “My office is just close by here. It was a terrible sight.

Two persons inside a saloon car parked nearby were burnt beyond recognition,” he said. “The tanker was trying to negotiate through the flyover when it fell, and the explosion occurred.”

The Obiri-Ikwerre flyover is a critical route leading to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.

The explosion’s impact was felt far and wide, with the sound reverberating through nearby residential areas, causing widespread panic.

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Lucky, another eyewitness, described the chaos that ensued following the explosion.

“It was about past 9 am that I was driving towards the University of Port Harcourt when I saw the flames. I quickly made a U-turn because I was driving. Many vehicles started making a detour to avoid the scene of the fire, some even videoing the fire with their phones,” he recounted.

Grace Iringe-Koko, the spokesperson for the state police command, provided an update on the casualty figures, confirming that all three occupants in the vehicle had perished in the fire.

The number of casualties, as I speak to you now, is three. They were all in the vehicle near the scene of the explosion. The state Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu, the Divisional Police Officer, and myself were at the scene of the unfortunate incident”.

“The fire has been put out by firefighters. We (the police) have launched an investigation into the incident,” she said.

The explosion caused significant traffic disruptions, creating a gridlock at the interchange. However, the prompt response by men of the Federal Road Safety Corps and other security agencies helped divert traffic and restore some order.

Our correspondent, who visited the scene of the tragedy early on Wednesday, observed the aftermath of the explosion. Burnt remnants of the tanker and the saloon car served as grim reminders of the deadly incident.

The authorities have since commenced a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the tanker crash and subsequent explosion.

As the community grapples with the loss and the haunting memories of the incident, questions about the safety of transporting hazardous materials through populated areas are being raised.

There is an urgent call for stringent regulations and safety measures to prevent such tragedies in the future and ensure the protection of lives and property.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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