Sierra Leone: 80 dead in oil tanker explosion at gas station

World Saturday 06/November/2021 15:01 PM
By: DW
Sierra Leone: 80 dead in oil tanker explosion at gas station

Wellington: A massive explosion at a gas station in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, killed at least 80 people, local authorities said on Saturday.

The explosion took place after a bus struck the tanker in Wellington, a suburb in the east of the city.

The flames then spread around the local vicinity, burning people in cars and on roads nearby.

A further 100 casualties have been admitted for treatment at hospitals and clinics across the capital, deputy health minister Amara Jambai told Reuters news agency.

Victims included people who had flocked to collect fuel leaking from the ruptured vehicle, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, mayor of the port city, said in a post on Facebook.

"We recovered 80 bodies from the site of the accident last night with our ambulances," a rescue worker from the Red Cross told AFP news agency, adding rescue operations were ongoing on Saturday morning.

A nurse at a hospital where the victims were taken said he had tended to many women, men and children with "serious injuries."

"We've got so many casualties, burnt 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."

President Julius Maada Bio, who is in Scotland attending the United Nations COP26 climate talks Saturday, 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 tweeted.

"My government will do everything to support affected families."

Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh visited the scene of the blast later Saturday.