At least 60 people perished in Tanzania yesterday when a fuel tanker overturned and then 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.
Morogoro governor 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.
Witnesses told AFP by telephone they could see charred remains of motorcycle taxis and trees scorched by the power of the explosion.
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.
A video posted on social media showed dozens of people busy trying to recover fuel in yellow jerricans.
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.
Such disasters are not uncommon in Africa. Last month, at least 45 people were killed and more than 100 injured in central Nigeria when a petrol tanker crashed and then exploded as people were trying to gather fuel.