At least 99 people died in the accident. The crowd collected fuel from the damaged vehicle after colliding with a truck that eventually exploded causing the tragedy.

Dozens of people were killed in the Sierra Leone capital on Friday in the explosion of a fuel tanker after a collision. The government did not initially confirm the death toll, but the manager of the state’s central morgue in Freetown said Saturday morning (11/06/2021) that it had received 91 bodies after the explosion. “We have recovered 80 bodies at the scene of the accident last night,” Red Cross sources gave, underlining that rescue operations were continuing. Hours later, the country’s vice president confirmed 92 deaths and, subsequently, the figure was officially raised to 99.

Among the victims were people who had flocked to collect fuel leaking from the damaged vehicle, said Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, mayor of the port city, in a Facebook post. “We have many victims, burned corpses,” said General Brima Bureh Sesay, director of the National Agency for Disaster Management, in a video posted on social media from the scene of the accident. “It’s a terrible, terrible, accident,” he summed up.

Images shared widely online showed several severely burned victims lying in the streets as fires raged in nearby shops and homes. Aki-Sawyerr, who is in Glasgow participating in COP26, called the videos and photos “heartbreaking”. The mayor said the extent of the damage was not yet clear, adding that police and their deputy were on site to assist disaster management officials.

“My condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and those who have been mutilated,” tweeted President Julius Maada Bio. “My Government will do everything possible to support the families affected,” he added, along with a photograph of the fire.

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