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

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

Tanzanian health workers carry a wounded man from a military helicopter at Jangwani, in Dar es Salaam on 11 August 2019, the day after a fuel tanker explosion in the town of Morogoro, 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of the Tanzanian capital. Picture: AFP

DAR ES SALAAM - 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 (200km) 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.