DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — At least 57 people were killed and 65 others injured in eastern Tanzania on Saturday when a crashed tanker exploded while a crowd was trying to siphon off fuel, the police said.
The state broadcaster TBC Taifa said the explosion occurred in Morogoro, about 120 miles west of the capital and the nation’s economic hub, Dar es Salaam.
“We have been saddened by reports of an accident involving a fuel truck in Morogoro, which caught fire and burned several people,” a government spokesman, Hassan Abbasi, said on Twitter, according to Reuters.
The regional police commissioner, Steven Kabwe, told the local Azam TV that 57 bodies had been recovered so far, and that many others were being treated for burns.
Witnesses in Morogoro told The Associated Press that scores of people had gathered around the fuel tanker after it was involved in an accident early on Saturday. They said people were trying to take fuel when the tanker burst into flames.
Incidents of people being killed explosions while stealing fuel from damaged fuel tankers are common in East Africa.
In 2016, a truck carrying fuel exploded and killed at least 73 people in a remote village in Mozambique.
In 2010, a fuel tanker overturned, caught fire and exploded in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing more than 200 villagers, some of whom had been trying to gather fuel from the leaking truck, officials in Congo said.
Kenya had a similar tragedy in 2009, when more than 100 people died after an overturned gasoline tanker truck exploded on a highway as looters tried to scoop up the spilled fuel.