Fuel tank blast kills over dozen people in Kenya

Published : July 19, 2021 18:10 IST

The tanker crashed into another truck, overturned and later exploded. Photo: AFP / Getty Images

A fuel truck collided with a vehicle in Kenya and then exploded while residents tried to siphon petrol from it. Police say death toll could rise.

At least 13 people have died in Kenya while many more have been injured after a fuel tank exploded late on July 17. According to the police, the truck collided with another vehicle and overturned on the busy highway near Malanga, some 315 kilometers (196 miles) northwest of Nairobi.

Residents in the area rushed to the crash site with jerrycans to collect the leaking fuel. A local police chief in Siaya County, Charles Chacha, said the other vehicle was ferrying 20 tons of milk. "The tanker hit the vehicle on the right rear side. As a result of the impact, it overturned on the extreme left side of the road,” he said.

People still missing

Police on July 18 said the death toll could rise, with investigators trying to account for missing people, and charred bones found among the twisted wreckage of the fuel tanker. Local police chief Chacha said 24 people were in hospital with serious burns and that children were also among the injured. "We have people who are unaccounted for. We will require a proper examination to determine if there were people burnt completely at the scene, where bones were found," he said.

Fire crews arrived on the scene two hours later to douse the inferno. The exact cause of the explosion is not yet known. Despite warnings from authorities of the dangers of looting petrol, many impoverished Kenyans continue to do so.

In 2009, at least 120 people were killed after a huge crowd tried looting from an overturned gasoline tanker, which then blew up. Poverty-stricken families say they had no choice with high food and fuel prices forcing them to seize such incidents.

on/dj (AFP, AP)