Over 15 persons were burnt to death yesterday as a petroleum tanker loaded with 33,000 litres of petrol exploded at the Koko junction axis of the Benin/Salele Expressway in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.

Scores of passersby and residents of the nearby community were also reported to have sustained severe burnt injuries in the inferno that lasted several hours.

Also severely affected were private and commercial vehicles as well as other makeshift buildings used as stores located close to the scene of the explosion.

A witness at the scene of the incident disclosed that the loud noise from the explosion, which occurred around 11am yesterday threw the entire area into confusion.
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While many survivors, including the security agents manning the nearest check points in the area ran into nearby bushes, most of the deceased were too close to escape the scene.

It was learnt that most of the victims were burnt beyond recognition alongside over 12 vehicles parked close to the scene.

A witness, who pleaded not to have his name in print, said: "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 Highway in Delta State. More than 15 persons were burnt beyond recognition and about 10 vehicles were trapped in the explosion.

"Some of the burnt victims were occupants of the burnt vehicles.

"Officials of FRSC and security agencies are already here trying to remove the bodies. Many persons were injured. It's a terrible situation."


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