August 15, 2019 / 6:09 PM / 6 days ago

Death toll from Tanzania fuel tanker blast climbs to 85, official says 

Relatives queue to identify the bodies of their kin outside the Morogoro referral hospital, after a fuel tanker exploded killing a crowd of people collecting liquid from puddles in jerry cans in Morogoro, eastern Tanzania August 11, 2019. REUTERS/Emmanuel Herman/File Photo

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - The death toll from a weekend fuel tanker explosion in eastern Tanzania rose to 85 on Thursday, a regional official said.

    The tanker burst into flames on Saturday as crowds gathered to siphon petrol from the vehicle in Morogoro, about 125 miles (200 km) west of the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. Government officials initially reported at least 60 deaths.

    “The official death toll now stands at 85 ... there are 17 accident victims with burn injuries admitted here at the regional hospital who are in stable condition,” Morogoro regional commissioner Stephen Kebwe told Reuters by phone.

    More than 20 other survivors are receiving medical attention at the country’s biggest referral hospital in Dar es Salaam, the commissioner said.

Officials said some relatives had to use DNA tests to identify bodies burned beyond recognition.  

    On Sunday the prime minister called for an official inquiry into the response of government agencies to the disaster. 

Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing George Obulutsa and James Drummond

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