Police in Tanzania reported that fifty-seven lives were lost on Saturday morning when a fuel tanker exploded after overturning on a road close to Morogoro.
The report explained that the blast may have been sparked by a cigarette as people rushed to collect leaking fuel from the truck.
“There was a huge blast which has so far killed at least 57 people,” regional police chief Willbrod Mtafungwa told reporters.
Witnesses told AFP by telephone that they saw the charred remains of a number of “boda bodas” (motorcycle taxis) and trees scorched by the power of the explosion.
Mtafungwa said the dead were mainly drivers of “boda-boda” and local residents flocking to the scene for the fuel after the tanker crashed.
Morogoro governor, Stephen Kebwe, told reporters that “The Morogoro region had never experienced a disaster of such magnitude.”
He said the tanker overturned on the roadside and the “fuel began to flow freely”.
“We have mobilised all the doctors at the Morogoro regional hospital so the wounded can be treated,” he added.
Policemen dispatched to the accident scene were able to bring the blaze under control.