At least 13 lives were lost Sunday evening after an oil tanker capsized and burst into flames in Siaya, western Kenya.
The driver of the ill-fated oil tanker lost control while attempting to avoid a head-on collision with another truck on the busy Busia-Kisumu highway, the BBC reported. Local villagers were reportedly taking advantage of the accident, filling jerrycans with oil, when the tanker burst into flames and exploded, according to the BBC.
Besides the dead, 11 others — including minors — are hospitalized in the nearby Yala sub-county hospital with severe burn wounds, the local media reported.
“It burst into flames as they scooped fuel that was flowing,” Charles Chacha, a local police chief in Siaya County reportedly said. (RELATED: ‘A Looming Catastrophe’: UN Official Warns Oil Tanker Could Spill Four Times More Oil Than Exxon Valdez)
“We counted 12 bodies at the scene. Another person died in hospital from their injuries,” Chacha said, according to the Voice Of America.
The fatal aftermath. Residents at the scene of the deadly explosion that left 13 people dead after an overturned petrol tanker exploded as they were siphoning fuel in Malanga on the Kisumu-Busia highway pic.twitter.com/6JcrID4U8b
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) July 18, 2021
Fuel tankers explosion accidents aren’t a new phenomenon in Kenya, due to the high poverty levels in the East Africa country. Locals have scrambled to siphon oil during these accidents, and many end up burnt to death following explosions, The Washington Post reported.
In 2009, over 100 people were killed after a petrol tanker exploded and killed those who had gathered to siphon the leaking fuel in the local town of Molo, in the rift valley, CNN reported at the time.