Fire claims 60 lives in Tanzania

A fuel tanker which exploded in Tanzania claimed the lives of at least 60 people, the tank exploded as people rushed to syphon off leaking fuel.

The deadly blast, which took place near the town of Morogoro, west of the economic capital Dar es Salaam, is the latest in a series of similar disasters in Africa.

The governor of Morogoro Stephen Kebwe, said the bodies of 60 victims were at the morgue of the local hospital, where more than 70 people were also being treated for injuries.

He warned that the toll could rise with victims possibly trapped under the truck.

Regional police chief Willbrod Mtafungwa told reporters there was a “huge explosion” after the vehicle overturned.

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Mtafungwa said the dead were mainly drivers of the taxis known as “boda-boda” and local residents flocking to the scene for the fuel after the crash.

‘Never seen a disaster of such magnitude’ –
The governor said the explosion was triggered when a man tried to pull out the truck’s battery, while witnesses said one of the people looting the fuel was smoking a cigarette.

Police later announced the blaze had been brought under control.

“The Morogoro region had never experienced a disaster of such magnitude,” Kebwe told reporters at the scene in the locality of Msamvu, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) west of Dar es Salaam.

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He said the tanker truck overturned on the roadside and the “fuel began to flow freely”.

“We have mobilised all the doctors at the Morogoro regional hospital so the wounded can be treated,” he added.

Source: AFP

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