A tanker on Friday exploded along Owerri/Onitsha express way at Irete, Owerri West local government area of Imo state. It was reported to have off-loaded premium motor spirit, PMS, at a filling station along the road.

The explosion killed a woman and injured three people while a rescue operation was still going on.

An eyewitness said that the tanker was negotiating to make U-turn when a bus carrying pineapple collided with the tanker and it exploded. The passengers in the bus were mainly affected including the woman who died.

The incident which happened around 11 am, attracted hundreds of passersby and also led to a heavy gridlock along the busy Owerri/Onitsha highway.

“We are standing here watching the tanker struggling to turn from this point it wasted time because the vehicle was too long. While we are even helping to direct the tanker before you know it, a bus heading to Owerri to off load bunches of pineapple now hit the tanker and it exploded like a bomb,” the eyewitness said.

The Director of Fire Service in Imo state, Japhate Okereafor, confirmed the incident by saying: “We are there and we can confirm that one person has died and three persons injured. It was a tanker explosion which caught fire. The tanker was on motion when it exploded.

“At this point, we have effectively battle the incident and controlled it. My men are ground and we are doing our best to restore calmness in the area.”