Over 60 persons were Friday afternoon burnt to death in a fatal multiple accident involving a trailer, an oil tanker and a luxury bus.
Following the accident which occurred at Ugbogui village, along the Benin-Ore-Lagos Expressway, a heavy traffic gridlock resulted with commuters on the dual carriageway stranded for several hours.
Three passengers of the luxury bus who were rescued were rushed to a nearby hospital. They were badly burnt.
The driver of the trailer, his motor boy and 57 passengers in the luxury bus were among the dead.
Witnesses said the accident occurred at about 1.30 pm, when a trailer loaded with cement reportedly had a burst tyre and rammed into a petrol tanker carrying fuel which hit the fully loaded luxury bus with the inscription “Young Shall Grow Motors.” The luxury bus reportedly burst into flame upon contact.
An official of the Federal Road Safety Commission [FRSC], who confirmed the story but pleaded anonymity, explained that the trailer was coming from Lagos while the tanker and luxury bus were said to be travelling in the opposite direction.
He said rescue operation had commenced, while fire fighters were yet to get to the scene of the accident at press time.
In an interview, a spokesman for the FRSC, Jonas Agwu said 36 people were killed in the accident.
“Thirty-six deaths confirmed” from the accident on the Benin-Ore highway at Igbogui village in southern Edo state, Jonas Agwu said.
He said the dead included 30 passengers from the bus. Four people from the tanker died as well as two children who were at a nearby mechanic workshop, Agwu said.
Three people were rescued, he said. Details were still emerging from the scene of the accident.
Agwu said that fire which erupted from the accident quickly “spread to a nearby mechanic workshop where eight other vehicles got burnt. A nearby local market also got burnt.”
The highway links Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos with eastern and southern states of the country.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, has one of the worst road accident records in Africa, with poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving conspiring to kill thousands every year.
Eighteen people were killed and nine others seriously injured Wednesday when their bus veered off its lane and collided with another bus along a highway linking the capital Abuja to the central city of Lokoja, officials said.