Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Thirty five bodies have so far been recovered from the scene of a tanker fire accident that occurred at Ahumbe, Gwer East Local government area of Benue State on Monday, Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Baba Aliyu, said on Tuesday.
The currently reported death toll adds to a growing number of victims, some of whom died at various hospitals where the injured were taken for medical attention.
Speaking to the media in Makurdi on Tuesday, Aliyu said that 101 people who sustained various degrees of injuries in the fire were taken to hospitals both in Makurdi, the state capital, and Aliade, the local government headquarters.
While noting that the death toll might continue to rise due to the degree of burns suffered by victims of tanker explosion, the FRSC boss disclosed that two officials of State Fire Service, as well as two social media reporters who were taking pictures of the incident, were among the injured.
He listed the hospitals where the fire victims are currently receiving treatment as Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Nigeria Air Force hospital, Bishop Murray Hospital, and the Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) – all in Makurdi.
Aliyu disclosed that other victims were moved to St. Vincent Hospital, Hosanna Clinic, General Hospital and Justin Dispensary all in Aliade, the Gwer East local government headquarters.
Speaking to the press in his office on Tuesday, the Chief Medical Director of BSUTH, Prof Terlumum Swende, said out of the ten victims of the tanker explosion that were brought to the hospital, one died in the early hours of Tuesday.
Swende, who decried the enormity of the accident, stated further that the last victim of the tanker explosion that was brought to the hospital had 75-degree burns.
Reacting, Governor Samuel Ortom expressed sadness over the loss of many lives in the tanker fire at Ahumbe.
The governor, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, described the incident as painful and devastating.
While consoling families of those who lost their lives in the inferno, Ortom prayed God to grant them eternal rest, even as he assured survivors of the fire that the state government would assist in the payment of their medical bills.