Dozens die in Tanzania tanker blast

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A fuel tanker exploded in eastern Tanzania killing at least 60 people, authorities said, as flames ripped through a crowd gathered to siphon fuel from it.

Video clips on social media showed charred remains of young men and burnt motorbikes. In footage before the explosion, a large crowd was collecting liquid from puddles in yellow jerry cans.

“The fire was huge and it was challenging to rescue victims. I have seen about 65 to 70 people rescued because the fire was spreading across the accident area,” witness Daniel Ngogo told Reuters.

“The situation is bad. Many people died, even those not stealing fuel because this is a busy place.”

In the aftermath, a man held his face in his hands as he watched a huge plume of black smoke twist into the sky.

“People ran and I fell down, everyone tried to escape but it was too late,” said local resident Hasani Oligenes, twisted bodies and motorbikes behind him.

Government spokesman Hassan Abbasi said at least 60 people died and 70 were injured in the blast in Morogoro, west of the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

Government was helping co-ordinate the salvage operation “to ensure we bury the bodies… relatives identify the bodies of loved ones and those injured receive proper treatment,” he added, in comments broadcast live by a state TV channel.

President John Magufuli was “shocked and saddened” by the accident, his office said in a statement.