(LAGOS, Nigeria) – An upside-down oil tanker exploded in Nigeria while dozens of people were collecting spilled fuel and many were killed, police and witnesses said Saturday.
Hundreds of people have died in similar incidents in recent years in Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, as poor people risk their lives to collect fuel leaking from oil pipelines or trucks.
"We recovered 12 bodies and took 22 people with severe burns to the hospital," spokeswoman Irene Ugbo told the Associated Press police. He said the explosion occurred on Friday night in Odukpani in the state of Cross River in the southeast.
But some residents have increased the death toll to 60.
"Police recovered only a few corpses, many of the other deaths have been reduced to ashes, "Richard Johnson told the AP.
He said that about 60 people were inside a well that dumped fuel when the explosion occurred. "It is not likely that anyone inside the pit survived because there was much fuel in the pit," Johnson said.
He suggested that the explosion was caused by an electric generator that had been brought to the scene to help pump fuel out of people's containers.
It was not immediately clear what caused the truck to overturn.
About a year ago, more than 30 residents in the same locality were burned to death while collecting fuel from an oil tanker involved in an accident
Nigeria's worst accident occurred in 1