From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Tragedy was averted on Monday in Asaba where two tankers loaded with 33,000 litres of petrol collided, spilling the highly inflammable contents on the Benin-Asaba-Onitsha expressway.
The incident which happened around the Asaba Airport axis of the expressway resulted in gridlock for some hours.
Eyewitnesses said a Toyota Sienna that rammed into the fallen articulated vehicles, was badly damaged.
But for the swift intervention of firefighters, officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and policemen, there could have been a tragedy of high proportion as residents in the area rushed out with buckets to scoop fuel.
“The accident involved two tankers and three vehicles but one of the vehicles the Toyota Sienna was badly affected.
“In fact, I don’t think someone survived in the Sienna vehicle because one of the tankers smashed it into the gutter”
“I was shocked that people came out and attempted to scoop fuel irrespective of the consequences,” a source said.
A landlord in the area described the accident as terrible.
“It was the intervention of the freighters, FRSC and police at the scene that prevented a further accident that would have to be a calamity in the state,” he said.
Sector Commander of Delta State Command of FRSC, Patrick Okoyeocha confirmed the incident.
Okoyeocha said he mobilised his men who put a distressed call to firefighters to come to the scene.
Meanwhile, residents in the capital city have lamented the manner in which petroleum tanker drivers park along the expressway especially by Koka and Ezenei junctions
A resident, Linus Okolo who is also an activist called on the state government to urgently address the ugly trend to avoid tragedy.
“Government should address this reckless parking of tankers which is not only causing gridlock but may cause explosion one day. A stitch in time, commentators say, saves nine,” Okolo said.
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