The incident occurred in Morogoro region, about 200 km (124 miles) west of the port city of Dar es Salaam. People were trying to recover fuel from the vehicle, which had overturned on a major road some time earlier. Many of those killed were motorbike taxi drivers. But even several people not involved in this activity were killed because it was a busy area. There are fears the death toll could rise because many of the injured had suffered serious burns. The fire was huge, it was fast spreading and it was challenging to rescue victims.
The president, John Magufuli, said he was shocked and saddened by the deaths, his office said in a statement. The government spokesman Hassan Abbasi said the government was helping to coordinate the rescue operation “to ensure we bury the bodies … relatives identify the bodies of their loved ones, and those injured get proper treatment”. However in East Africa some people are willing to take huge risks to remove fuel from tankers and pipelines. In 2010, 292 people were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and five years later 203 died in South Sudan in such accidents. In May, this year, at least 58 people died in Niger when a tanker exploded.