Over 50 dead and 100 burned in Congo tanker fire
At least 50 people have died and more than 100 have suffered second degree burns, as a tanker truck in Congo collided with a bus on an artery in western Congo. Villagers were rushing to collect the leaking fuel when the tanker caught fire, witnesses and officials said.
The accident happened on a highway in the village of Mbuba, near the town of Kisantu, about 120 kilometers (100 miles) west of the capital, Kinshasa.
Overloaded trucks carrying goods as well as tankers regularly crisscross this road, because it is the link between Kinshasa and the seaport of Matadi.
According to eyewitnesses, the flames spread quickly, engulfing neighboring houses.
“We deplore the dead,” the acting governor of Kongo-Central province, Atu Matubuana, told reporters. Authorities were preparing to identify the charred bodies and bury them, Matubuana said.
The acting governor has asked health officials to prepare local hospitals to “do whatever is necessary” to treat all victims.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Congo said it had offered the government assistance for the wounded, with nine ambulances en route to Kisantu to help with medical evacuations.
In 2010, more than 200 people were killed when a tank truck overturned and burned in Congo’s South Kivu province. Many victims were trying to retrieve the leaked fuel when it caught fire.