AT least 10 persons were killed as a pipeline exploded on Saturday in Komkom community, Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The deafening sound of the explosion about 6.45am was said to have caused serious panic in the community as residents began to make enquiries about what happened.
While some sources within the area said the exploded pipeline belonged to Shell Petroleum Development Company, others expressed the belief that the facility was the property of the Petroleum Product Marketing Company.
It was also gathered that the explosion occurred when some workers from a yet to be identified firm were working on one of the pipelines.
A resident of the area, who identified himself as Jude, stated that the loud sound of the explosion jolted most residents of the community, even as he said that 10 persons lost their lives in the incident.
He explained that people immediately began to panic at the sound of the explosion.
“It was around 8am when we heard a loud explosion. Most of the residents were still in their houses when the loud explosion occurred.
“I woke and gathered all my family members together before we moved out of the house. As we were moving out, I saw smoke coming out of the pipeline not very far from my house.
“I saw many persons running out of their houses. I did not exactly know what was happening. We just heard a loud explosion, which was followed with billows of smoke.
“It was later that I learnt that the explosion occurred in one of the pipelines. I suspected it was fuel pipeline and that more than 10 persons lost their lives in the incident,” he said.
The Chairman of Oyigbo LGA, Gerald Oforji, also confirmed that some persons died during the pipeline explosion, adding that corpses were pulled out from the scene of the incident after the fire was put out.
Oforji stated that no house was destroyed during the incident.
But the State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, told our correspondent that though some persons lost their lives in the explosion, the number of casualties had not been established.
Omoni stated that an investigation had begun with a view to unravelling the circumstance that led to the explosion.
When contacted, Spokesman for the SPDC, Bamidele Odugbesan, said there was no indication that any of its facilities exploded in Oyigbo.