Oil Tanker Explosion: At least 98 people were killed and several others seriously injured when an oil tanker exploded near Freetown, the capital of the African nation of Sierra Leone. Officials and eyewitnesses gave this information on Saturday. According to the National Disaster Management Agency, the blast occurred late Friday when the tanker collided with another truck. The tanker was heading to a gas station near a busy intersection in Wellington, east of the capital, Freetown.
“Both the drivers came out of their vehicles and warned residents to stay away from the accident site in view of the oil spill from the collision,” the agency said. Eyewitnesses said that in this extremely poor country, however, crowds gathered to get fuel. Officials said around 100 injured people were taken to nearby hospitals. About 30 people with severe burns are not expected to survive.
The clothes of the injured people were burnt in the fire after the explosion and they were lying on stretchers without clothes. Videos obtained by The Associated Press after the explosion showed a massive fireball, while some seriously injured people moaned in pain. Meanwhile, President Julius Mada Bio, who was in Scotland to participate in the UN climate talks, expressed grief over the incident. He tweeted, “My deepest sympathies to the families who have lost their loved ones and those who have suffered burns.”
Vice President Mohamed Zuldeh Jaloh visited two hospitals overnight and said Sierra Leone’s National Disaster Management Agency and others would work tirelessly in the face of this emergency. “We are all deeply saddened by this national tragedy and this is indeed a difficult time for our country,” he said on his Facebook page.
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