The accidents occurred at Ekom Iman junction, a major roundabout in the city where a lorry loaded with insecticides lost control and rammed into another truck conveying building materials leading to explosions which engulfed the area destroying motorcycles, tricycles and cars parked by the roadside.
Eyewitnesses said those feared dead included the two drivers whose vehicles caught fire during the explosion, adding that the accident was made worse by the congestion of the area as it has become a major commercial centre with traders and vendors displaying goods by the roadside.
Attributing the accident to “break failure” some of the eyewitnesses said the lorry that was approaching from Itam Junction conveying the building materials was on top speed towards the roundabout, adding that it was quite obvious that something had gone wrong from the speed of the lorry.
“We saw the lorry speeding even though it was approaching the road junction without making any effort to slow down,’’ a traveller said.
The lorry was heading towards Abak town but with the ongoing construction of the Abak road from the Ekom Iman junction, motorists have been making use of one lane which created delays resulting in the accident, another witness said.
It was gathered that a pickup van carrying two cows was also caught up in the fire. Youths in the area were alleged to have helped themselves slicing part of the beef for consumption, a development which also resulted in one of the youth receiving a cut from a knife used by another person.
When CityFile visited the scene of the accident, it was littered with burnt motorcycles, cars and tricycles, cans of insecticides as well as burnt building materials.
It was also gathered that the late arrival of fire service personnel from Abak worsened the fire incident while a fire truck belonging to Julius Berger, the construction company handling the Abak road project which had arrived on time could not be put to use as the engine failed to pump water to put out the fire.
Another fire truck from the state fire service which came from Uyo to the scene, a distance of about 10 kilometres arrived when the fire had gutted most of the affected property.
Last month, more than 14 persons lost their lives in an accident at a roundabout in Etim Local Government Area when a lorry conveying members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to their annual convention at Ikot Ekpene rammed into the road junction.
Neither the sector commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission nor the Police Public Relations Officer, Etim Dickson, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, could be reached for comments on the accident which is coming few weeks to the Christmas festivities.