Igbagbon: A ruptured gasoline pipeline exploded in flames, killing at least 34 people near Nigeria's main city of Lagos as they tried to scoop fuel from the gushing leak, police said yesterday. A witness said he saw 40 bodies.
The explosion, on a pipeline that carries imported gasoline from the Lagos port to inland depots, occurred on Tuesday morning at Igbagbon, a village near the coastal city of Lagos. It was a stretch of pipeline in remote swamp waters, and news of the fire only filtered out last morning.
A charred swathe of bush littered with hundreds of burned and unburned jerry cans and buckets was all that remained of the disaster site yesterday after firefighters put out the blaze and engineers clamped the rupture.
Lagos police spokesman Frank Mbah told reporters officers counted 34 bodies at the scene.
Twenty-eight bodies burnt beyond recognition were buried in a mass grave near the site by Red Cross volunteers, said Abiodun Orebiyi, secretary of the Nigerian Red Cross.
Orebiyi said the final toll may never be known, since local people who arrived the scene earlier had also buried some of the dead.
"There were more than 40 bodies when we first got here," said Ganiyu Odukale, a resident of the Igbagbon fishing community closest to disaster location, who said he was among the first at the scene on Tuesday. Red Cross officials said they were now focussing efforts on searching for injured people.