At Least 62 Dead After Fuel Tanker Explodes In Tanzania

Aug 10, 2019
Originally published on August 10, 2019 4:13 pm

A fuel tanker in Tanzania exploded on Saturday, killing at least 62 people and injuring 70 more, The Associated Press reported.

The tanker truck flipped over in Morogoro, roughly 115 miles from the economic hub of Dar es Salaam. Video from before the explosion shows a large crowd gathered around the damaged tanker, collecting spilled fuel in yellow jerrycans.

In one video on social media, a police officer is seen helping a man from the flames as the sounds of another explosion can be heard in the background. Photos from after the accident show piles of charred motorbikes and burned bodies.

A regional commissioner told the local Azam TV that many people suffered severe burns, the AP reported.

Accidents like these are are not uncommon across the continent, NPR's East Africa correspondent Eyder Peralta reported.

A similar incident last month left more than 45 dead in Nigeria. In 2016, at least 73 people were killed when a truck carrying fuel exploded in Mozambique. In 2010, more than 200 were killed in Democratic Republic of Congo when a fuel tanker overturned.

"Fuel tankers have an accident and people looking for a little bit of money try to scoop up whatever fuel they can salvage," Peralta said.

"There is limited awareness about the danger of explosions of damaged fuel tankers" Henry Bantu, a road safety expert who runs the Tanzania-based Safe Speed Foundation, told the AP.

"Local leaders need to do more to educate people on the risks," he said.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli sent his condolences to the families of those who died in the accident.

The Tanzanian news outlet The Citizen reported that the president also expressed his sadness over the tendency of some people to "scramble for properties" when motor accidents occur.

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