Scramble for free fuel ends in tragedy as 60 die in Tanzania tanker explosion
Sixty people died while 70 were seriously injured in Morogoro town, Tanzania, on Saturday morning when a fuel tanker burst into flames.
Reports indicate that the victims included motorcyclists who rushed to the scene in Msamvu to collect leaking fuel after the vehicle overturned.
Others were food vendors along Dar es Salaam-Morogoro highway.
Morogoro Regional Police Commander Wilbroad Mutafungwa confirmed the number of casualties.
The accident occurred about 200 metres from Msamvu Bus Station in Morogoro town.
Some witnesses said one of the people who went to scramble for the fuel had been smoking a cigarette.
“This has never happened in Morogoro town. The fuel spilled about 100 metres along the road,” Morogoro Regional Commissioner Steven Kwebwe said at the scene.
Personnel from Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) and the fire brigade responded to the incident.
They took the bodies to the mortuary at Morogoro Regional Hospital.
Tanker fires have become a common feature on the continent as the poor jostle to scoop free fuel.
In January 2009, an overturned tanker exploded near Sachang’wan in today’s Nakuru County in Kenya.