FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE —
An oil tanker truck exploded close to Sierra Leone’s capital, killing at the least 98 individuals and severely injuring dozens of others after giant crowds gathered to gather leaking gas, officers and witnesses mentioned Saturday.
The explosion befell late Friday when the tanker collided with one other truck because it was pulling right into a gasoline station close to a busy intersection in Wellington, simply east of the capital of Freetown, in response to the Nationwide Catastrophe Administration Company.
“Each drivers got here out of their autos and warned neighborhood residents to remain off the scene whereas attempting to deal with a leakage emanating from the collision,” the company mentioned.
On this deeply impoverished nation, nonetheless, crowds nonetheless rushed in to scoop up the gas, witnesses mentioned. It was not instantly recognized what precipitated the leaking gas to ignite however an enormous explosion quickly adopted.
Video obtained by The Related Press confirmed a large fireball burning within the night time sky as some survivors with extreme burns cried out in ache. The charred stays of some victims lay strewn on the scene, awaiting transport to mortuaries.
Practically 100 injured individuals have been taken to space hospitals, officers mentioned. About 30 severely burned individuals at Connaught Hospital weren’t anticipated to outlive, in response to Foday Musa, a employees member in its intensive care unit.
Injured individuals whose garments had burned off within the fireplace that adopted the explosion lay bare on stretchers as nurses attended to them Saturday. Tons of of individuals milled outdoors the primary gates of the mortuary and close to the hospital’s essential entrance, ready for phrase of their family members.
Osman Timbo, mentioned his 13-year-old brother, Mohamed, was amongst those that had died.
“He left dwelling and mentioned he was going to purchase bread for us to eat,” Timbo mentioned. “After I heard in regards to the explosion, I went to the scene and I noticed my youthful brother mendacity down and he was burned throughout. I felt so dangerous. I liked him a lot!”
Hospital officers known as in as many docs and nurses as they may in a single day to are inclined to the wounded. The nation’s well being care sector remains to be recovering from the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic, which killed most of the West African nation’s docs and nurses.
President Julius Maada Bio, who was in Scotland attending the U.N. local weather talks Saturday, deplored the “horrendous lack of life.”
“My profound sympathies with households who’ve misplaced family members and people who have been maimed consequently,” he tweeted.
Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh visited two hospitals in a single day and mentioned Sierra Leone’s Nationwide Catastrophe Administration Company and others would “work tirelessly” within the wake of the emergency.
“We’re all deeply saddened by this nationwide tragedy,” he mentioned on his Fb web page.