Over 10 charred remains of children and adults have been recovered at the site of a fire explosion at the Nembe-Bonny Jetty Waterfront in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The tragedy, which took place at about 12pm on Monday, left several more deaths and destruction in its trail, according to findings by SaharaReporters.
An eyewitness named John disclosed on Monday night that more than 40 people including children were in a boat transporting stolen petroleum products from Kula community to Port Harcourt when the vessel went up in flames, causing destruction in the entire area.
According to him, the explosion occurred after a passenger smoking a cigarette threw it inside the sea, which unknown to him, already had the spilled petroleum product on it.
The fire was said to have spread all across the jetty, destroying boats, shops and wares belonging to petty traders.
Boat operators and business owners around the popular boat station are still around the scene of the incident trying to salvage their items.
"We are still searching for bodies. Most of those we have found have been burnt beyond recognition. Over 10 bodies including children and adults have been recovered so far.
"Immediately the incident happened at 12pm, we called the fire service but they did not show up until hours later. When they got here, people chased them away out of anger because the fire had already caused a lot of destruction at the time.
"Everywhere is in chaos; people are trying to see what they can save from their items. We cannot ascertain the number of dead persons at the moment," John said.
Monday's fire explosion is the third of similar occurrences in two days – a development that has seen the state government setting up a probe into the outbreaks.