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Toll from Tanzania fuel truck blast rises to 95: hospital

Tanzanian health workers wait for a military helicopter carrying victims of a fuel tanker explosion, at Jangwani grounds, in Dar es Salaam on August 11, 2019, the day after a the tanker exploded in the town of Morogoro © AFP/File / STRINGER

Nairobi, Kenya, Aug 18 – The death toll from a fuel truck explosion in Tanzania has climbed to 95, a hospital spokesman said Sunday.

A massive fireball engulfed a crowd thronging to collect petrol from an overturned tanker last Saturday near the town of Morogoro, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) west of Dar es Salaam, the financial capital.

The initial explosion killed dozens, with others taken to hospital with burns and serious injuries in one of the deadliest oil tanker blasts in Africa in recent years.

“Another death took place last night. It was a man who succumbed to his injuries,” said Aminiel Aligaesha, a spokesman for the National Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

On Saturday Tanzanian authorities reported there had been 94 deaths.

The flames swept through a large crowd trying to siphon leaking petrol from a truck that overturned as it swerved to avoid a motorcycle.

Burnt trees and the carcass of a burnt out fuel tanker is seen along the side of the road following an explosion on August 10, 2019, in Morogoro © AFP/File / STRINGER

Officials said the explosion was triggered when a man tried to retrieve the truck’s battery, creating sparks that ignited the fuel.

It was the latest in a string of such disasters in Africa and at least the third this year.

Last month, 45 people were killed and more than 100 injured in central Nigeria when a petrol tanker crashed and then exploded as people tried to take the fuel. In May, a similar incident in Niger killed nearly 80 people.

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