In a tragic incident on Tuesday morning, three individuals lost their lives following a tanker explosion on the Obiri-Ikwerre Flyover along the East-West Road in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State. The explosion, which occurred around 9:30 am, involved a tanker believed to be carrying Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The tanker overturned while attempting to navigate the roundabout, crushing a vehicle and subsequently exploding.

Police Public Relations Officer Grace Iringe-Koko confirmed the incident in a telephone conversation. “Yes, I can confirm that two persons died in the tanker fire. Myself and the Commissioner of Police are on the ground as I speak to you,” she stated. However, it was later confirmed that three people had died m in the accident, their bodies burnt beyond recognition when the tanker fell on the vehicle they were traveling in.

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The immediate aftermath of the explosion saw significant destruction in the surrounding area. Residents reported feeling the impact of the blast kilometers away, with some describing how their windows were shattered due to the force of the explosion. The vibrations from the blast were also widely felt, causing alarm among the local populace.

Emergency services, including the Fire Service, were quick to respond to the scene, battling to control the inferno. Despite their efforts, the area remained hazardous due to a continuous gas leak from the damaged tanker. Authorities have since advised motorists to seek alternative routes to avoid further casualties.

As firefighters worked to extinguish the flames, a heavy security presence was observed, with police officers managing the crowd of onlookers that had gathered. Amidst the chaos, a suspected scavenger was apprehended by the crowd while attempting to steal parts from the wrecked tanker. The individual was subsequently handed over to the police.

This incident is a stark reminder of the dangers posed by the transportation of hazardous materials. Just a month prior, a similar tragedy occurred along the Eleme axis of the same East-West Road. That explosion resulted in the deaths of four individuals and the destruction of over 60 vehicles, highlighting ongoing concerns regarding road safety and the handling of flammable substances.

The Obiri-Ikwerre Flyover explosion has once again brought attention to the need for stringent safety measures and regulations in the transportation sector. The recurrent nature of such accidents highlights the importance of thorough safety protocols to prevent future occurrences. The government and relevant agencies must address these issues to ensure the safety of both transporters and the general public.

In the wake of this disaster, the affected families are left to mourn their losses, while the community grapples with the aftermath. As investigations continue, it is hoped that lessons will be learned to enhance safety standards and prevent similar tragedies in the future. The incident serves as a somber reminder of the potential consequences of lapses in safety and the critical need for vigilance in the transportation of dangerous goods.

The loss of life and property in such incidents calls for a concerted effort from all stakeholders to implement and adhere to safety measures that protect lives and prevent further tragedies. As Port Harcourt and the nation at large mourn the victims of this latest explosion, the call for improved safety standards and accountability in the transportation sector grows ever louder.