An oil tanker exploded in the capital of Sierra Leone, killing at least 98 people and injuring dozens more.
The explosion occurred late Friday (November 5) when the tanker collided with another vehicle while pulling into a gas station near a busy intersection in Wellington, east of the capital, Freetown.
Officials and witnesses have alleged that large crowds gathered around the tanker to collect spilled fuel when the vehicle exploded.
It is not known why the fuel ignited, but a huge explosion soon ensued.
Video footage from The Associated Press showed a giant ball of fire burning in the night sky as some survivors cried out.
The victims’ bodies remained at the scene while they waited to be transported to the morgue.
Nearly 100 people were hospitalized and about 30 people with severe burns are not expected to survive at Connaught Hospital, according to Foday Musa, an intensive care worker.
Hundreds of people waited outside the main morgue gate near the main entrance to the hospital to find out what happened to their loved ones.
The hospitals have called in as many doctors and nurses as possible to treat the wounded.
However, the country’s health sector is still recovering from the 2014-16 Ebola epidemic that killed many doctors and nurses.
President Julius Maada Bio, who attended the United Nations climate talks in Scotland on Saturday, expressed his condolences after the “terrible loss of life”.
“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.