By Kezekiah Mbogo Jr
Transport along Mbale-Tirinyi highway came to standstill for nearly two hours after a fuel tanker loaded with petrol exploded after it overturned in the middle of the road.
The Vehicle (UAL 283F) was reportedly heading from Budaka to Mbale side before it overturned and went into flames blocking traffic along the highway. The incidence occurred at around 2.40pm at a place called Nandusi: just few kilometers from Budaka town.
The OC Traffic Gerald Balwa said one person identified as Ivan Omodinghi was severely burnt and his life remains uncertain as he was rushed to Mbale hospital on a Boda while in severe pain. “This is was a horrible accident. By the time police arrived at the scene the vehicle was badly burnt and the turn man was yelling in total pain and police responded by calling fire brigade,” Balwa said. It’s alleged that the vehicle developed brake failure forcing it to overturn and bursting into flames-thus blocking traffic for the incoming vehicles.
Balwa explained that police has commenced investigations to establish the cause of the accident. One of the eyewitnesses Robert Haumba said that the vehicle was over speeding at the time the incident happened.
He said the driver (only identified as Swaibu) survived and is on the run whereas the co-driver Ivan Omodinghi was rushed to Mbale with severe burns all the over his body. “He was severely burnt with the huge flames that spread several meters away. It’s by God’s mercy that he came out a live compared to magnitude of the fire,” Haumba said. Vehicles plying on the Mbale-Tirinyi highway had to be diverted through Gadumire to access the main highway until after the fire had been brought under control. The Fire brigade arrived amidst serious condemnation from residents who questioned why it took them so long to respond to the incident.
Residents from Naboa and other surrounding villages trekked several kilometers to witness the tragedy-nasty accident that had befallen their neighborhood.
Area DPC Wilson Salaam had to personally intervene to calm down angry residents who kept surging forward. He said he was here to ensure residents don’t turn violent or get burnt.
Similar incidences have in the past been registered especially along Iganga-Jinja highway leaving scores seriously injured and some killed as they attempt to scoop petrol.