Scores Dead As Fuel Tanker Explodes

Scores Dead As Fuel Tanker Explodes

The explosion happened late Friday in Wellington, a suburb just east of Freetown, after a vehicle collided with a tanker.

According to deputy health minister Amara Jambai, the death toll stood at 99 as of Saturday afternoon, with more than 100 patients being treated in hospitals and clinics across the city.

People who went to collect petrol gushing from the damaged car were among the victims, according to Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the port city’s mayor, in a Facebook post.

“The video and photo footage making rounds on social media are harrowing,” Aki-Sawyerr said.

The mayor noted that the extent of damage to property was yet to be determined, adding that police and her deputy were at the scene to assist disaster management officials.

“We’ve got so many casualties, burned corpses,” said Brima Bureh Sesay, head of the National Disaster Management Agency, in a video from the scene shared online. “It’s a terrible, terrible accident.”

Health services have been stretched, with hospitals “asking for everything that they need to be able to respond,” he added.

President Julius Maada Bio, who was in Scotland attending the United Nations climate talks, deplored the “horrendous loss of life”.

“My profound sympathies with families who have lost loved ones and those who have been maimed as a result,” he wrote on Twitter.

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