Many eyewitnesses are disputing the emergency services’ casualty figure. According to them, many more died or were injured.Officially nine people died and about 54 vehicles burnt yesterday during a tanker fire outbreak on Otedola Bridge, a Lagos suburb on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
some motorists, who made a U-turn and attempted to flee the scene of the incident, crashed into other vehicles.
Lives were reportedly lost in the secondary accident that resulted from the confusion caused by the fallen tanker.
“Some motorists, who turned to run away, crashed into other vehicles. Some jumped out and others fell into the gutter in the course of running away. We found dead bodies on the ground and in the gutter. Some of the people who died in the gutter had probably been caught by the fire and jumped into the gutter to put it out
The General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Adesina Tiamiyu, said: “Nine bodies were recovered and four injured people.
According to him, the affected vehicles comprised of the fuel tanker, five buses, two trucks, one tricycle, and 45 cars.
The motorboy of a truck parked a few metres away identified himself as Stephen Daniel.
Daniel said he watched the accident unfold, claiming he counted more than nine bodies.
He said: “I was beside my truck when the incident occurred. I think it was brake failure. I saw the truck lose control and hit the pillar. The tank broke away from the head of the truck and opened. Fuel started gushing out. The driver of a car behind the truck tried to reverse, but the car caused a spark and the tanker caught fire.”
According to Daniel, the casualty was higher than the official figure.
“The bodies I saw were more than 16. They were mostly children,” he claimed.
Another eyewitness, who gave his name simply as Seyi, said he ran towards the scene of the fire from Alausa, just before the emergency services began evacuating casualties.
He said: “I work near Alausa. The dead were many. They put them in body bags and rushed them away. They were certainly more than 10.”
A woman, who identified herself as Ann, said she was in her shop nearby when the fire broke out.
“We ran away as soon as the truck exploded. There was a bus filled with children not far from the truck. I don’t know if they managed to escape,” she said.