News Desk: Thirteen people were killed and even more grievously burned when a “huge fireball” engulfed a crowd in Kenya as they siphoned fuel from an overturned petrol truck that ignited without warning.
Police said the death toll is expected to rise, while investigators still groping to account for the missing, and charred bones found among the wreckage of the fuel tanker.
The truck collided with another vehicle and turned over late on Saturday near Kenya-Uganda international border. Onlookers rushed to the crash site to collect the leaking fuel and stop the further spread of of fuel but the truck exploded shortly after, consuming the crowd in the huge fireball.
“We were woken up by a very loud blast. When I rushed out, I saw a huge fireball and people were screaming,” said a nearby resident. Those on the scene first managed to get away safely with some fuel, reported another witness from the area.
But others went back for a second round, and the crowd grew larger as more and more people arrived. “That’s when the fire started,” she said.
A survivor said he had just started filling his jerrycan when the slick around him ignited. “I was able to run to safety… I just don’t know how lucky I was, because I have been told the people we were with did not survive,” Otieno said from his hospital bed.
A local police chief on the investigating team said that 24 people were in hospital with serious burns. Little children were also among those injured.
“The death toll we have as of now is still 13. These are bodies at the mortuary,” said the official. “However, we have people who are unaccounted for. We will require a proper examination to determine if there were people burnt completely at the scene, where bones were found.”
Fire crews arrived on the scene two hours later to douse the inferno. The cause of the explosion is not yet known and police is as of yet investigating the matter further.