22 persons have been killed and three others injured in an auto crash.
Following the ghastly accident which occurred in Abudu, Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State at about 4:25pm on Thursday, December 8, 2016, the petrol tanker reportedly exploded leaving the victims burnt beyond recognition, Punch reports.
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According to reports, a tanker loaded with petroleum products crashed into the vehicles involved along the Benin-Agbor road, before exploding in flames. Several other vehicles are reported to have been affected by the explosion.
An eyewitness told Punch that the accident occurred during the diversion of traffic caused by a bullion van which had broken down along the road.
Confirming the sad incident, the State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps said that it received a call from the Divisional Police Officer in the area.
Punch reports that officials of the state fire service were called to put out the flames while attempts were made to rescue the victims.
Speaking with Punch correspondents on Friday, December 9, 2016, the spokesman for the sector command, George Otoaviokhai, noted that the bullion van was not involved in the accident or affected by the fire.
Listing the vehicles involved in the crash, Otoaviokhai disclosed that two buses, a Sienna car, a Dyna truck, one tanker, a Ford bus, a Toyota Corolla and a motorcycle were affected.
The FRSC spokesman attributed the cause of the accident to brake failure, adding that the occupants of four of the affected vehicles including the Toyota Corolla, were burnt to ashes.
Otoaviokhai explained, “The bullion van actually broke down and they were trying to fix it. They diverted traffic. It was in the process of diverting traffic that the tanker rammed into the other vehicles.
“It was not as if it was the bullion van that was affected. It broke down and it was fixed. It was not a head-on collision. The vehicles were coming from Agbor into Benin. The tanker rammed into parked vehicles. The tanker was loaded and there was a combustion.”
The State Commissioner of Police, Haliru Gwandu, also revealed that there were no reports about a burnt bullion van.
Gwandu said, “I have not received any information about (a) bullion van. But I know I received a report about a fatal accident. The same Abudu DPO told me about a fatal accident, not bullion vans containing millions of naira or dollars.”
Punch reports that Otoaviokhai noted that while the corpse of one of the deceased persons has been deposited in a mortuary, a mass burials for the charred remains of the other victims will be organised by health officers from the local government area.
May the souls of the departed rest in peace.