An oil tanker conveying 33,000 litres of Jet A-1, otherwise called aviation fuel, on Tuesday tumbled near the access gate of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, spilling its content on the road. Eyewitnesses said the incident occurred around 10a.m.
The tanker, with a Lagos Registration number AAA 991 XQ, was heading to the international wing of the airport from Ikeja when the incident occurred.
According to eyewitnesses, the driver, who was the sole occupant, was trying to negotiate a sharp bend when he suddenly lost control of the vehicle.
The eyewitnesses said the driver was trapped inside the vehicle for over 30 minutes before he was pulled out by other road users who had to cut the vehicle’s steering.
They said the driver was rushed to the Port Health Services where he was being treated for severe injuries.
Tragedy was, however, averted following the quick response of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Lagos State Fire Service, the Nigerian Police and other emergency response agencies.
The quick intervention of the agencies prevented an imminent fire outbreak as the officers collaborated to flush the fuel off the road.
Speaking to newsmen at the accident scene, leader of the Lagos State Fire Service team, Fatai Rafiu said the command received a distress call on the accident at about 10:14a.m.
Rafiu said, “Information was given to us that the affected vehicle was loaded with highly flammable chemical which can lead to loss of lives and property within seconds. Our team from the Mobalaji Bank Anthony Way responded almost immediately and we were able to prevent any fire outbreak. With my years of experience, which is about 32 years, I can say that the accident might have occurred because of over speeding by the driver because the accident would not have happened just like that. Maybe the driver lost the control of the vehicle, because I can tell you that it was not a mechanical fault,” he said.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Lagos Airport Command, Livinus Chukwuma said officers were deployed immediately to the scene.
He said the police officers also cordoned off the area and diverted passengers going to the international airport and other workers within the airport environment to use alternative routes. This caused massive gridlock on the road as vehicles were diverted from the airport road to the Beesam area of the airport to access the international airport and the cargo terminal.
By Pita Ochai