Fuel Truck Explosion Kills 13 People in Kenya

Kenyan Police have confirmed that 13 people were killed and many others seriously burned when an overturned petrol tanker exploded in western Kenya as crowds thronged to collect the spilling fuel.

The fuel truck collided with another vehicle and toppled over late on Saturday near Malanga, some 315km (195 miles) northwest of Nairobi, on the busy highway between Kisumu and the border with Uganda.

Fire crews arrived on the scene two hours later to douse the inferno while those injured in the blast were taken to hospital.

Eyewitness account revealed that a majority of the fatality were onlookers who rushed to the scene with jerrycans to scoop fuel but the cargo exploded, engulfing them in a fireball.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known.

Deadly fuel truck accidents along perilous roads are not uncommon in Kenya and the wider East Africa region. Despite warnings from authorities of the dangers of siphoning after the deaths of hundreds in previous incidents, many Kenyans continue to do it because they are pressed by poverty.

In 2009, at least 120 people were killed after a huge crowd descended on an overturned gasoline tanker, which then blew up.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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