Morogoro fuel truck disaster hits new national record

Thursday August 22 2019


By Frank Kimboy @frankkimboy

Dar es Salaam. The Morogoro fuel tanker disaster hit a new national record to become the worst such tragedy in the recent past after the death toll reached 100 yesterday.

Across the African continent, the August 10 becomes the fourth deadliest such accident after the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) announced the death of one more person from the accident Wednesday.

Fifteen survivors now remain -- down from the 47, who were transferred from Morogoro to Dar es Salaam on a chopper -- following the accident.

At least 30 of the victims died in the days after the accident, in which a fireball engulfed a crowd thronging to collect petrol from an overturned tanker.

Since their transfer to the MNH, it’s been a tricky battle for survival for the victims who suffered serious burns -- some as bad over 80 per cent.

Granted, it’s been a hectic and testing time for medics at the country’s main referral hospital where 13 survivors are still in the Intensive Care Unit.


Many of the victims are motorbike taxi drivers who rushed to the scene to try to siphon off leaking petrol.

The explosion was triggered when a man tried to take the truck’s battery, creating sparks that ignited the fuel.

Until the latest accident, the worst calamity occurred in Mbeya in 2002 in which 40 people died and 100 injured when an oil tanker overturned.

Again in Morogoro, 18 people perished when a tanker collided with a bus in April 2015.

A string of such disasters

- South Sudan, September 16, 2015: At least 203 people are killed and 150 injured as people try to recover fuel from an oil tanker following a road accident west of the capital Juba.

- Kenya, January 31, 2009: Flames engulf a crowd scooping fuel when a tanker overturns near Molo, northwest of the capital Nairobi, killing some 122 people.

- Niger, May 6, 2019: At least 76 people die in an explosion near the airport of the capital Niamey. Most of the victims were trying to collect fuel flowing from the overturned truck when the blast occurred.

- DR Congo, October 6, 2018, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 53 people are killed when an oil tanker collides with another vehicle and catches fire on a highway west of the capital Kinshasa.

- Mozambique, November 17, 2016: At least 93 people are killed when an oil tanker carrying petrol explodes in the west of the country. Hundreds were trying to siphon off the fuel at the time.

- Nigeria, May 31, 2015: At least 69 people burn to death in the southeast of the country after a petrol tanker loses control, rams into a busy bus station and bursts into flames.

- July 12, 2012, Nigeria: At least 104 people are killed as they try to recover fuel from a petrol tanker following an accident in the southern River State.

- July 2, 2010, DR Congo: At least 292 people are killed in a petrol tanker blast in the eastern village of Sange. Some victims were trying to recover fuel after the accident; others were watching a World Cup football match nearby.

- October 9, 2009, Nigeria: At least 70 people are killed in the southeastern Anambra state after a petrol tanker explodes and the flames engulf several other vehicles.