A fuel tanker has exploded shortly following a collision near the capital of Sierra Leone in a densely populated suburb early Saturday, causing numerous casualties. A bus struck the tanker in Wellington, a suburb just to the east of Freetown. Large crowds had gathered to collect leaking fuel. The bus was completely burnt, while nearby shops and market stalls were caught up in the flames. At least 99 were killed and dozens of others were injured. The army, police and fire force were all at the scene. Most of the dead have been received at the central morgue in Freetown. About 30 severely burned victims were not expected to survive, according Connaught Hospital. Fuel still appeared to be leaking from the wrecked tanker on Saturday morning. President Julius Maada Bio, who was in Scotland attending the United Nations climate talks Saturday, deplored the “horrendous loss of life.” In the country, Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh visited two hospitals overnight.
Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr said in a statement on Facebook that she was “saddened to hear about an explosion along Bai Bureh Road, Wellington. Footage broadcast by local media outlets showed badly charred bodies in the streets surrounding the tanker. Such tragedies occur again and again in poor coutries as people gather damaged vehicles to obtain fuel.