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71 dead after fuel tanker explosion in Tanzania

12 August 2019

71 people died and 59 others injured when an overturned oil tanker exploded in Tanzania on August 10. The explosion happened after people began to siphon petrol and collect spilt fuel shortly after the tanker had crashed on a main road near Morogoro, 200 km (124 miles) west of Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

The city of Morogoro is a major route for transporting fuel from the port city of Dar es Salaam to other parts of the country.

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has since pleaded for people to stop siphoning fuel from broken-down tankers and risking their lives. The incident is the latest in a number of tanker and pipeline explosions that have occurred in Africa due to locals attempting to collect spilt fuel before inadvertently causing an explosion. In June, 12 people died in Nigeria after locals attempted to collect oil from a leaking pipeline before it exploded. Elsewhere, in October 2018 more than 50 people died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when locals went to collect spilt fuel from a tanker that had crashed into a parked truck.

Footage posted online shortly after the incident in Tanzania showed the flaming wreckage of the tanker spread over a wide area and a number of charred bodies on the ground. According to locals, the tanker crashed while trying to avoid a motorcycle. The explosion then occurred as local taxi drivers and motorcyclists stopped and started to collect the spilt fuel. 

DNA tests are currently underway to help identify unrecognisable bodies while funerals are being held for those who have had their identities confirmed. President Magufli has declared a three-day mourning period.


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