By Peter Duru
Makurdi—Death toll from the Benue State petrol tanker explosion in Ahumbe village, Gwer East Local Government Area has risen to 45, including a pregnant woman and two children, while 101 others sustained serious burns.
The state Sector Commander of Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Mr. Aliu Baba, who confirmed the number of causalities, said their personnel have successfully evacuated the victims to various hospitals.
Giving account of what happened, Baba said he slept at the scene with his personnel, noting that “the ill-fated truck was loaded with petrol and was on its way to Makurdi when it lost a tyre and fell at Ahumbe village.
“Members of the community rushed to the scene and engaged themselves in scooping the fuel that was spilling from the truck.
“They did it for over one hour, but unfortunately a fully-loaded 18-seater bus was coming from Oju council of the state, heading to Makurdi.
“When it got to the scene, the driver tried to cross to the other side of the road, using the shoulder of the road. The exhaust pipe brushed the ground and sparked off the fire that quickly spread to the truck and the huge explosion that followed spread the fire farther.
“A second explosion occurred from the tanker, which affected two personnel and people that gathered at the scene including passengers of other vehicles and social media journalists.”