Around 70 feared dead in Nigeria tanker crash

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The Independent Online

As many as 70 people were feared dead after a fuel tanker and six commuter buses crashed in the southern Nigerian state of Anambra last night, Nigerian newspapers said yesterday.

The This Day newspaper quoted witnesses as saying the fuel tanker was attempting to cross large potholes on the Enugu-Onitsha highway when it toppled over, spilling fuel across the road.

A car crashed into the debris, causing an explosion which engulfed the buses and other vehicles, the newspaper said.

"The six commuter buses were full of passengers and only 17 can be confirmed as those that escaped ... so the number of dead could be 70 or more," This Day quoted the local operations commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission as saying.

Congested roads in Africa's most populous nation are poorly maintained, riven with gullies and potholes large enough to swallow cars. Accidents are frequent, particularly at night with vehicles poorly lit, although the death toll is rarely so high.