JULY 1 TANKER EXPLOSION: SURVIVOR EXONERATES DRIVER, FRIDAY

…he later collapsed out of exhaustion

One of the survivors from the July 1, 2019 Benue tanker explosion, Mrs Martina Odey has in an interaction with newsmen recounted has she escaped in a whisker with minor bruises and fire injury on her left hand and what transpired on the said fateful day.

The tanker explosion, which claimed the lives of over 50 people and left several others with various degrees of burns was described as a black Monday in the country. About eight women and two men from Yala in Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State were among the dead as their bus was hit by the inferno from the explosion.

Earlier report had indicated that the driver, one Mr Friday from Okpoma was responsible for the death of the bus passengers who chattered the bus from Abuja to Yala for a burial of the father of one their member.

Mrs Odey, who was visibly still in shock described the incident as the worst experience of her life. She however, exonerated Mr Friday of culpability or driving them to their death as it was alleged. She said the event was unfortunate as it was when their bus was about to drive past where the tanker was that the explosion occurred adding that the driver tried his humanly possible best but as fate would have it, he was helpless.

She said, “When we approached the place where the tanker fell, we saw other vehicles parked while some were still passing beside the tanker. Our driver just like others attempted to pass when someone suddenly opened a compartment from the tanker which led to a spill of fuel, at that point our driver tried to accelerate and the vehicle didn’t pick and the next thing we heard was a loud sound with the fire.

“Immediately our driver jumped down from the vehicle and started breaking the windscreen of the vehicle. We started jumping out of the vehicle for those that had the strength. He was also the one making calls and in the process of struggling to help people out of the vehicle, he even collapsed in the process. He had to be resuscitated with the help of officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission at the scene.

“Myself and a few others scrambled out with various degrees of injury while we lost some persons instantly,” she said.

So far, the death toll from the incident has on the rise with death 4 earlier survivors as a result of the serious injuries from the burns.

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