Tanzania tanker blast kills dozens as crowd siphons fuel

Saturday August 10 2019

A curious onlooker at the scene of fuel tanker

A curious onlooker at the scene of fuel tanker explosion at Msamvu in Morogoro town on August 9, 2019. PHOTO COURTESY | THE CITIZEN  

THE CITIZEN
By THE CITIZEN
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REUTERS
By REUTERS
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A fuel tanker exploded in eastern Tanzania on Saturday killing at least 60 people, authorities said.

The explosion occurred around 200 km west of the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Government spokesman Hassan Abbasi said at least 60 people died and 70 were injured in the blast, which occurred in Morogoro, a town around 200 km west of the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

The government was helping coordinate the salvage operation “to ensure we bury the bodies...relatives identify the bodies of their loved ones, and those injured get proper treatment,” he added, in comments broadcast live by a state TV channel.

Majority of the victims were motorcyclists who rushed to the scene to collect the oil gushing onto the road, according to eye witnesses.

Video clips circulating on social media showed the charred remains of dozens of young men and burnt motorbikes.

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Reports suggest a cigarette was to blame for the deadly fire.

“The fire was huge and it was challenging to rescue victims. I have seen about 65 to 70 people being rescued because the fire was fast spreading across the accident area,” witness Daniel Ngogo told Reuters.

“...The situation is really bad. Many people died, here even those who were not stealing fuel because this is a busy place.”

In the aftermath, one man held his face in his hands as he watched a huge plume of black smoke twist onto the sky.

“People started running and I fell down, everyone tried to escape but it was too late,” said local resident Hasani Oligenes, twisted bodies and motorbikes piled up behind him.

President John Magufuli was “shocked and saddened” by the accident, his office said in a statement.

The bodies have been taken to Morogoro Regional Hospital.

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