At least 62 people burned to death Saturday and more than 70 others were being treated for burns after a fuel tanker exploded in Morogoro, Tanzania, police said.
Witnesses said the tanker had been involved in an accident. People were trying to siphon off fuel from the damaged tanker when the blast happened, officials said.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli expressed his condolences but said he was "very shocked" by the looting that happened at the scene. He also called for people to stop the dangerous practice of stealing fuel in such a way.
Morogoro governor Stephen Kebwe said, "The Morogoro region had never experienced a disaster of such magnitude."
He told reporters that the explosion occurred when someone tried to take the truck's battery. A witness on the scene, teacher January Michael, told the French news agency AFP, "We arrived at the scene with two neighbors just after the truck was overturned. While some good Samaritans were trying to get the driver and the other two people out of the truck, others were jostling each other, equipped with jerrycans, to collect petrol.
"At the same time, someone was trying to pull the battery out of the vehicle. We warned that the truck could explode at any moment, but no one wanted to listen, so we went on our way. But we had barely turned on our heels when we heard the explosion.”
Morogoro is about 200 kilometers (125 miles) west of Dar es Salaam.
Fuel tanker explosion burns to death 62 people in #Tanzania. 70 others are being treated for burns. Incident happened in Morogoro after the tanker got involved in an accident on Saturday. Acc. to witnesses explosion occurred when someone tried to take the truck's battery pic.twitter.com/lijITAfdh4— The Observer (@observerug) August 11, 2019