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More than 30 killed after Ugandan road tanker explodes in Kenya

12 December 2016

More than 30 people died when a fuel tanker crashed into other vehicles and burst into flames outside the town of Naivasha in Kenya late on December 10, local officials told AFP. A spokesperson for Kenya's National Disaster Unit said the death toll was 33 the following day, but that other bodies could be found.

Stock image
Stock image

Police said the truck, which had Ugandan registration plates, was travelling fast when it hit a speed bump and lost control. At least 50 people were injured in the accident and have been admitted to hospital in Naivasha.

Witnesses described a fireball engulfing the vehicles with passengers inside. After firefighters put out the flames, rescue workers collected bodies from among the wreckage of charred cars strewn across the highway.

Kenya's Red Cross said the driver lost control of the tanker which then crashed into other vehicles and "burst into flames".

A passenger minibus and a police truck were among the vehicles gutted by the fire. The dead include 11 officers of the General Service Unit, a paramilitary police force.

In a statement issued by Kenya's State House, President Uhuru Kenyatta said "the tanker responsible for the deaths should not have been on that particular road at that hour" and called for a full investigation into a "tragic breach" of the rules restricting the movement of large trucks on certain roads and at certain times.

The accident occurred at Karai at the bottom of a long slope on the busy Nairobi-Nakuru highway, the main cross-country road leading from Kenya's capital to the west of the country and on to Uganda.

The busy highway has been the site of many fatal accidents. In 2009 more than 100 people were killed and 200 injured on the same road after a petrol tanker overturned and local people gathered to collect the leaking fuel when a fire ignited.

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