Dozens Dead As Fuel Tanker Explodes While People Siphon Fuel

A damaged tanker truck has exploded in eastern Tanzania as people were trying to siphon fuel out of it, killing at least 62 in one of the worst incidents of its kind in the east African country.

Tanzanian state broadcaster TBC, citing police figures, said at least 70 more people were injured during the explosion in the town of Morogoro, about 200km from the economic hub of Dar es Salaam.

Regional commissioner Steven Kebwe told the local Azam TV that many suffered serious burns.

Two men carry the remains of a burnt out motorbike after a fuel tanker exploded in Morogoro. Photo: Getty

Witnesses said a crowd had gathered around the fuel tanker after it was involved in an accident early on Saturday, and some people were trying to siphon away fuel when the truck burst into flames.

Video footage posted on social media showed people collecting fuel into jerry cans before the explosion.

In a statement expressing condolences, Tanzanian President John Magufuli said he was dismayed people attacked vehicles involved in accidents instead of offering help.

Police tape cordons off the area around the carcass of a burnt out fuel tanker. Photo: Getty

Residents are routinely killed by explosions while stealing fuel from incapacitated tankers in east Africa. Those who steal the fuel usually hope to be able to sell it cheaply to motorists.