OKOGBE, NIGERIA (BNO NEWS) -- The death toll after a fuel tanker overturned and exploded in southern Nigeria on Thursday morning has risen to at least 121, government officials said on late Sunday. More than 70 people were injured, although the actual number is believed to be higher.
The accident occurred at around 6:30 a.m. local time on Thursday when the fuel tanker, operated by Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), overturned and began spilling fuel near the Oando petrol station in Okogbe, a small village in Nigeria's southern Rivers State. The fuel later caught fire, killing and wounding people who were attempting to steal it.
A spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said the death toll increased to 121 on Sunday after more bodies were recovered from neighboring villages, where they had been taken by their relatives. The number of injured has risen to at least 75, although officials believe the actual number is higher as some victims were treated by relatives or at private clinics.
Thursday's accident happened when the fuel tanker attempted to avoid crashing into a vehicle which had been struck by a bus. The driver of the truck lost control of the vehicle, causing it to overturn. The fuel spill continued for some 40 minutes as local villagers gathered to steal the fuel, despite the truck driver warning people to evacuate the area.
It was not immediately known what caused the spark which set off the fire and explosion.
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