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70 Killed in Nigerian Fuel Truck Accident

70 Killed in Nigerian Fuel Truck Accident

70 Killed in Nigerian Fuel Truck Accident

Nigerian officials say a fuel truck spill that ignited into a massive blaze has killed 70 people, including many bus passengers and consumed nine vehicles.

The accident happened Friday in southern Anambra state on the Onitsha-Enugu expressway in the Oyi Council area.

Authorities say the petroleum truck was passing a section of the highway with deep potholes when it served and overturned, spilling its contents onto the roadway.

Witnesses say the spilled fuel exploded into a raging fire that engulfed the vehicles, including the truck and at least five buses.

Nigeria's This Day newspaper on Saturday quoted witnesses who said bystanders stood helplessly as people trapped inside the burning vehicles screamed for help.

Nigeria's roads are among the most dangerous in the world because of large potholes, poorly maintained vehicles and dangerous driving.

The head of operations for Nigeria's Federal Road Safety Commission, Ben Ekenna, warned that similar accidents will happen if roads are not improved.

Authorities say more than 4,000 people die every year in traffic-related accidents in the west African nation.

Officials add the actual figure could be much higher because accidents in remote rural areas are often not reported and villagers sometimes bury the dead before authorities can arrive.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.