By James Tasamba
KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - Death toll has risen to 69 in the aftermath of a fuel tanker explosion in northern Tanzania, authorities said on Sunday.
On Saturday, a fuel truck overturned about 200 meters (656 feet) from the Msanvu bus station in Morogoro town.
The tanker driver reportedly lost control while he was trying to avoid a motorcycle operator.
People had rushed to the area after the accident to siphon the leaking fuel before the explosion. They were among the victims of the tragic event.
Morogoro Regional Commissioner Stephen Kebwe confirmed the recent death toll.
Among the deceased were four women, according to the police.
Most of the victims were motorbike riders who were at the scene collecting the spilt fuel and the food vendors at Darmorogoro highway, according to reports.
Some people were burnt beyond recognition.
Tanzania media reported that burial was due to start on Sunday while relatives of the deceased gathered at the Morogoro secondary school to take part in the DNA tests to identify the bodies of their loved ones.
At least 72 other people were injured and are undergoing treatment at the Morogoro Regional Hospital and National Hospital Muhimbili in Dar es Salaam, according to the reports.
In a statement issued Sunday by the presidential communication office, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli announced three days of national mourning following the tragedy.
On Saturday, he expressed shock over the looting of fuel from the accident and warned people against the practice.
Media reports show that similar incidents happened previously in different parts of Africa.
In July, at least 45 people were killed when a crashed fuel tanker exploded in Nigeria's northern Benue state.
About 80 people died in May in a similar accident near the airport of Niamey, Niger's capital city.
A similar deadly explosion in 2013 killed at least 29 people on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital Kampala.
More than 30 people were killed in 2016 outside Naivasha town in Kenya after a fuel tanker crashed into other vehicles and burst into flames.