No fewer than ninety nine persons have died, and at least hundred badly wounded after a loaded fuel tanker exploded following a collision in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone
The Friday night incident occurred near a fuel station in the industrial community of Wellington located in the eastern part of the city.
Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh said from the scene in an official confirmation of the toll from the explosion on Friday, “We have received a report this morning that 92 people have died,” adding that 88 more were in hospital being treated for critical burns.
Many of the victims were residents, mostly commercial motorcycle riders, who rushed to the scene to collect fuel leaking from the tanker after the collision. Traders and motorists on the road were also affected by the explosion.
Graphic images and video footages shared on social media showed bodies scattered around the scene of the explosion.
Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyer, who is out of the country, promised a swift response to the incident.
“Even though I cannot be there in person, our Metropolitan Police and Deputy Mayor are at the scene,” she said in a Facebook post, noting that her office’s Disaster Response Team would meet with the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), which is leading the response efforts, first thing in the morning to conduct a needs assessment.
The mortuary at Connaught Hospital in Freetown reported 92 bodies had been brought in by Saturday morning.
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