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Fuel tanker explosion in Liberia kills at least 40 people trying to collect gas
By Zoey Sky // Jan 02, 2024

Authorities in Liberia, West Africa, reported that a fuel tanker exploded on Dec. 26, killing at least 40 people. The explosion also injured at least 83 people in Totota, a town located in the central part of the West African country.

Dr. Cynthia Blapook, a health official in Bong County, said many of the deceased had to be buried in a mass grave on Dec. 27 because their remains were unrecognizable. Authorities added that an exact death toll was difficult to confirm because of how badly the bodies were burned from the blast.

Francis Kateh, Liberia's chief medical officer, reported that his teams were "going door-to-door to establish the number of missing people." Liberian Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor attended the mass funeral.

A doctor at one hospital treating the injured called for the Liberian government to deploy a disaster management team and to have one in each county to respond to such emergencies. (Related: 55 Chinese sailors KILLED as nuclear submarine got caught in a trap intended for Western sub-surface vessels.)

Dr. Minnie Sankawolo-Rocks also warned people not to approach fuel tankers to try and collect much-needed gasoline. Sankawolo-Rocks said people did not listen to police instructions to stay away from the area before the tanker exploded.

According to witnesses, some people climbed on the truck to try and collect petrol leaking from its tank after it crashed and tipped into a ditch along a road in Totota.

Local Aaron Massaquoi said some of the people used irons to hit the tanker so it would burst and they could get gas. Massaquoi added that the truck driver told the people gathered around the vehicle to get the spilling gas instead.

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The driver also warned them not to climb on top of the tanker and to stop hitting the tanker, but some people tried using screwdrivers to put holes in the tank.

A similar incident in July burned 8 people to death

Unfortunately, similar dangerous accidents have occurred in other locations in Africa. Last July, the road safety agency reported that a tanker exploded in Nigeria’s southern Ondo state, burning eight people to death.

Ezekiel Sonallah, head of the Federal Road Safety Corps in Ondo, said the tanker was transporting gasoline and exploded while the victims were also trying to extract the much sought-after fuel. Sonallah added that the driver lost control of the tanker and veered off the road, where it crashed in Ondo's Odigbo district.

Both the driver and his assistant escaped unscathed. According to the driver, the "problem was the scooping," suggesting that it was the reason for the explosion.

Authorities reported that all the victims were burned beyond recognition and were impossible to identify.

Like in Liberia, scooping fuel from tanker accidents has often resulted in deaths in parts of Nigeria. Fatal truck accidents are also common along many major roads in southern Nigeria. In January 2023, 20 people died in two truck accidents in the southwest while 12 died in similar circumstances in November.

Visit Disaster.news for more articles about tragic incidents.

Watch this clip about the Ohio metal factory explosion.

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More related stories:

Massive explosion at EV battery warehouse in Uzbekistan kills 15-year-old boy, injures 163.

Fatal prototype hybrid car explosion claims researcher's life and leaves another severely injured with third-degree burns.

NASA confirms 1,000-lb meteoroid the cause behind loud explosion reported in Texas.

Explosion at Ohio metal factory kills 1, injures 13.

Explosion at Texas dairy farm kills over 18,000 cows.

Sources include:





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