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More than 100 fatalities in Nigeria road tanker explosion and fire

13 July 2012

A tanker carrying fuel veered off the road trying to avoid a collision with a bus in Nigeria’s Delta region on July 12, attracting a large crowd attempting to scoop up fuel spilling out of the vehicle. The fuel then caught fire and exploded, killing more than 100 people, according to the country’s emergency management agency, with at least 50 others injured.

The accident took place near Okogbe town about 60 kilometres from Port Harcourt, Nigeria’s oil capital. Local sources say the crowd ignored calls from nearby soldiers to get away from the leaking tanker before the explosion.

President Goodluck Jonathan said in a statement he was “deeply saddened by the loss of many lives” caused by the explosion and “particularly distraught by the fact that once again, so many Nigerian lives have been lost in an avoidable fuel fire disaster.”

A mass burial of 87 of the bodies, most burned beyond recognition, took place in a pit dug by heavy equipment next to the accident site later in the day. At least six others who could be identified were released to their families.

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