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50 missing after oil pipeline explodes in Bayelsa

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…As Tornadoes kill at least 23 in Lee County, Alabama***

More than 50 people are missing after a leaking oil pipeline exploded and caused a stampede in southern Nigeria, a local official said Saturday.

The blast early Friday caused massive oil spillage in the Nembe kingdom in Bayelsa state, the Nembe Chiefs Council spokesman, Chief Nengi James-Eriworio, told The Associated Press.

The Nembe trunk line is operated by the Port Harcourt-based Aiteo Group and carries crude to the Bonny export terminal. Aiteo had yet to comment on the explosion. It was not immediately clear if the pipeline had been shut down.

Video obtained by the AP shows a large blaze from the ruptured pipeline at night as villagers look on. “If they turn off the oil well from the station, the pressure inside the pipeline would reduce, causing the flame to burn out,” one person is heard in the background explaining.

The Niger Delta is highly polluted. Nigerian oil companies usually assert that the majority of oil spills are caused by sabotage, theft and illegal refining.

Deadly accidents caused by leaking pipelines are alarmingly common. In January, an overturned oil tanker exploded in Odukpani in Cross River state while dozens of people were scooping up the leaking fuel. Police said at least 12 people were killed while some witnesses estimated up to 60 were dead. 

In the meantime, at least 23 people have been killed as tornadoes struck Lee County in eastern Alabama, authorities say.

County Sheriff Jay Jones said there had been “catastrophic” damage and there were fears more bodies would be found. The number of injured is not yet known.

Rescue efforts have been halted until dawn due to the danger of searching in the dark.

The most devastating tornado struck the area around Beauregard, carving a path at least half a mile (0.8km) wide.

The National Weather Service (NWS) classified it as at least an EF-3 – meaning winds of up to 165mph (266km/h).

It warned people to “stay out of damaged areas so first responders could do their job”.

Where have the tornadoes struck?

The area around Beauregard, about 60 miles (95km) east of Alabama’s state capital, Montgomery, appears to have borne the brunt. The tornado there struck at about 14:00 (20:00 GMT) on Sunday.

Footage showed snapped poles, roads littered with debris and houses without roofs.

Sheriff Jones said some homes had been reduced to slabs.

Authorities fear the death toll could rise.

Residents of Smiths Station told local TV they had seen businesses destroyed there. A large bar called the Buck Wild Saloon had had its roof torn off.

Sheriff Jones said: “The challenge is the sheer volume of the debris where all the homes were located. It’s the most I’ve seen that I can recall.”

Tornado warnings were also issued for Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. Footage showed smashed buildings and snapped trees in Talbotton, about 80 miles south of Atlanta.

Tornadoes were also reported in Walton County and Cairo in northern Florida.

What are the casualties?

All of the deaths so far have been in Lee County. Authorities say they are still working to identify the victims and the injured.

One of the dead in Beauregard was an eight year old, family members said.

“We’ve never had a mass fatality situation, that I can remember, like this in my lifetime,” Lee County coroner Bill Harris said.

He said on Sunday evening: “We’ve still got people being pulled out of rubble. We’re going to be here all night.”

Alabama meteorologist Eric Snitil tweeted that there were more deaths in Lee County in one day due to a tornado than in the entirety of the US in 2018.

East Alabama Medical Centre said it was treating more than 40 people injured by the extreme weather, and was expecting more.

Several people were reported hurt in Talbotton in Georgia, though not seriously.

What was the damage?

PowerOutage. US says there are about 3,000 customers without power across Alabama, most of them in Lee County.

Cold weather is forecast for the region after the tornadoes, with temperatures predicted to drop to near freezing.

The National Weather Service said it would send three survey teams to assess the damage caused by tornadoes across Alabama on Monday.

The extreme weather initially cut off electricity for 21,000 Georgia Power customers, according to a company spokeswoman, and tore down trees and destroyed homes.

The Citizen with additional report from BBC

Accidents

Tanker Tyre Explosion Sparks Chaos In Surulere

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Tanker Tyre Explosion Sparks Chaos In Surulere

 Pandemonium engulfed Ekololu, a community in the Surulere area of Lagos, on Monday night when the back tyres of a tanker transporting fuel to a Conoil filling station burst into flames near the station.

The News Correspondent who resides in the area reports that the explosion of the tyres and the ensuing billows of smoke made residents living near the filling station flee for safety.

Observations by the newsmen revealed that staff from the filling station hurried out with fire extinguishers to combat the fire, which erupted around 9:00 p.m., just a few meters from the station’s entrance.

Emergency responders, including Federal and State Fire Services, as well as the Lagos State Emergency Management Authority (LASEMA), swiftly arrived at the scene following distress calls from the community.

The ill-fated tanker that caused the pandemonium

Upon arrival, the emergency teams assessed the unregistered truck carrying the petrol and raised concerns about safety measures while questioning the driver and filling station management.

They provided guidance and oversaw the safe discharge of the fuel using a long hose to transfer the petroleum product from the stranded tanker into the filling station’s reservoirs.

The Station Manager of the Conoil filling station, Mr Kunle Oniya, informed the emergency responders that the station possessed 20 fire extinguishers, which were promptly utilised to contain the fire and prevent its spread.

The incident led to a traffic gridlock, with vehicles unable to move in the area for nearly an hour.

Some residents shared their experiences of the ordeal with the newsmen.

A resident, Malam Shehu, recounted abandoning his dinner upon witnessing the fiery explosion.

He expressed gratitude that the fire was contained before causing further damage.

Another resident, known as Iya Abigail, described hearing people shouting while she was playing games, prompting her to flee in confusion wearing her nightclothes.

She prayed for continued safety in the community.

An elderly resident, who preferred anonymity, urged filling stations in the area to prioritise safety and the welfare of residents.

She noted that filling stations typically had insurance against fire and other disasters and suggested extending such coverage to vulnerable buildings in their host communities.

Recalling the chaotic events, she said that she heard the sound of an emergency whistle to alert the neighbourhood before hastily evacuating her home.

“I was watching TV and when the incident occurred, I had to blow the emergency whistle to alert the neighbourhood but I quickly dressed up before running out of the house,” she said. 

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Overspeeding Claims 7 Lives In Ibadan- Iseyin Road Crash- FRSC

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Overspeeding Claims 7 Lives In Ibadan- Iseyin Road Crash- FRSC

…As 15 people sustain varying degrees of injuries

Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has confirmed the death of seven persons in a road accident that occurred on Ibadan-Iseyin road on Thursday.

The Public Relations Officer, FRSC, Oyo Sector Command, Mr Mayowa Odewo, said in a statement that the deceased were five male adults, one female adult and one female child.

Odewo said that 15 people also sustained varying degrees of injuries out of the 22 people involved in the crash.

He attributed the accident, involving a Nissan Urvan commercial bus, with registration number: SEY 254 ZY and a Mazda commercial bus, with registration number LGB 343 XA, to speed violations and fatigue.

Odewo stated that the 13 injured victims, including three male adults, nine female adults and one female child, had been taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

He said that four of the seven corpses of the victims had been claimed by their families, while the remaining three had been deposited at a morgue.

“The police from Motor Traffic Division (MTD) Police Division, Moniya, Ibadan, have taken possession of the two crashed vehicles, including bags and other valuables recovered from the scene,” he said.

The FRSC spokesperson noted that no victim was saved by the seat belt or other defensive gadgets.

He urged motorists to always obey traffic rules and regulations as well as adhere to all traffic cautions on the road to prevent avoidable crashes. 

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Man Dies After Falling Off Cruise Ship in Australia

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Man Dies After Falling Off Cruise Ship in Australia

Australian police had found a man’s body off Sydney’s coast while searching for a cruise ship passenger who went overboard on Monday.
The man fell overboard before dawn near Sydney Heads, about 18 kilometers from the shore, with police and other emergency services launching a search, New South Wales police said.

At about 10.30 a.m. (0030 GMT), officers located the body and retrieved it, police said.

Police would now prepare a report for the Coroner and have launched an investigation into how the incident unfolded.

P&O Cruises’ ship Pacific Adventure was due to arrive in Sydney Harbour on Monday.

“We thank guests for their care, understanding, and patience on what’s been a distressing day for guests and crew,’’
a statement from the company said, as quoted by local media.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the guest at this difficult time.’’

The ship was returning to Sydney from a three-day trip to Queensland’s Morton Island.

– dpa

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