At least 92 dead after oil tanker explodes in Sierra Leone

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – An oil tanker exploded near the capital of Sierra Leone, killing at least 92 people and seriously injuring dozens of others after large crowds gathered to collect spilled fuel, officials and witnesses said Saturday.

The explosion occurred late Friday after a bus hit the tanker in Wellington, a suburb east of Freetown.

The Connaught Hospital morgue reported that 92 bodies had been brought in by Saturday morning. According to Foday Musa, about 30 severely burned people should not survive.

Burned trucks after a tanker truck explosion in Freetown, Sierra Leone late Friday.NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT ALTER / Reuters

Injured people, whose clothes were burned in the fire after the explosion, lay naked on stretchers while nurses tended them on Saturday.

The aftermath video obtained from The Associated Press showed a giant ball of fire burning in the night sky while some survivors with severe burns cried out in pain. Charred remains of the victims were scattered around the scene, waiting to be transported to morgues.

President Julius Maada Bio, who took part in the United Nations climate talks in Scotland on Saturday, lamented the “terrible loss of life”.

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“My deepest condolences go to the families who have lost loved ones and those who have been mutilated as a result,” he tweeted.

Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh visited two hospitals overnight and said the National Disaster Management Agency of Sierra Leone and others would “work tirelessly” after the emergency.

“We are all deeply saddened by this national tragedy and it is indeed a difficult time for our country,” he said on his Facebook page.

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