Update: 108 killed, 92 injured in fuel tanker explosion in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) confirmed on Saturday that at least 108 people were killed and 92 others injured in a fuel tanker explosion late Friday.

According to a statement by NDMA, a loaded fuel tanker and a truck carrying granite stones collided on a highway while the fuel tanker was about to enter a nearby filling station to discharge its product.

Footages and eyewitnesses revealed that while the collision took place, both drivers came out of their vehicles and warned community residents to stay off the scene while trying to address a leakage emanating from the collision, said the statement.

In the interim, some community members rushed to the scene and took advantage of the leakage to scoop fuel and store it in nearby makeshift structures. In the cause of scooping the fuel, a major explosion happened and resulted in a fire disaster, it added.

The statement said the injured were admitted into different hospitals across the city and suffering varying degrees of burning. Sufficient medical supply is said to have been provided to the victims.

Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio on Saturday also expressed his condolences over the fuel tanker explosion, saying the government will “do everything to support affected families.”

“Deeply disturbed by the tragic fires and the horrendous loss of life around the Wellington PMB area. My profound sympathies with families who have lost loved ones and those who have been maimed as a result,” said Bio.

In the meantime, the president has canceled his trip to the Extraordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States Authority of Heads of State and Government, which is set to be held in Ghana on Sunday.

Earlier on Saturday, police and hospital sources revealed that over 100 people have been killed in the fuel tanker explosion in Freetown.

Eyewitnesses said some other dead bodies have been taken by their relatives for burial.

Police said further investigations into the accident are still underway.

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