At Least 73 Killed in Mozambique Fuel Tanker Explosion

A burning fuel tank. Representational image. Credit: Reuters/Files

A burning fuel tank. Representational image. Credit: Reuters/Files

At least 73 people were killed and 110 injured in Mozambique on Thursday as they tried to siphon fuel from an overturned truck which exploded, the government said.

Initial reports suggested that the number of people killed was 43, according to Africa News, which quoted a statement from the council of ministers saying, “With the heat, the truck caught fire, killing, according to the first results of the investigation, 43 people and burning 110 others, including adults and children,”

The statement also said, “The incident occurred when citizens tried to take gas from a tanker” in Caphiridzange, in the Tete province, while transporting fuel from the port city of Beira, a few dozen kilometers from the border with the Malawi.

The injured had been taken to hospital and a government team was due to travel to the area in Tete province, some 2,000 km (1,242 miles) from the capital Maputo on Friday. The Los Angeles Times reported that there were several charred bodies lying around the vicinity, based on radio reports in Mozambique, which also claimed that some people had tried to run into a nearby river.

Africa News wrote that authorities are considering two possibilities of how the incident may have occurred: either the tanker had stopped to sell its fuel or it might have been stormed by locals.

It also said that a delegation from the central government was due to visit the site of the tragedy on Friday.

(with Reuters inputs)