Death toll of fuel tanker explosion in DR Congo hits 230

16:11, July 04, 2010      

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At least 230 people have been killed and nearly 200 others injured in a fuel tanker truck explosion late Friday in a village in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), local government officials and a United Nations mission said Saturday.

The fuel tanker truck from Tanzania overturned and burst into flames as the fuel leaked out. The huge fire engulfed dozens of local residences and several cinemas crowded with villagers watching World Cup TV coverage.

Some victims were those who tried to gather fuel from the damaged tanker.

"When we arrived in Sange at about noon, we were already up to 230 dead. In our presence, three more bodies were added. We are therefore at more than 230 dead and 105 injured," Marcellin Cishambo, Governor of Sud-Kivu province, where the incident took place, said Saturday.

"Our latest numbers are 230 dead and 196 injured," Madnodje Mounoubai, a spokesman for the UN mission, told reporters.

A spokesman from the Congolese Red Cross said among the dead were 61 children and 36 women.

On Saturday charred bodies beyond recognition, some covered with white shrouds, still littered the streets of the once densely populated village, while UN helicopters began airlifting injured people to hospital and Congolese Red Cross workers wearing masks carried corpses away on stretchers.

Reports say the truck overturned as it was trying to overtake a minibus on the bumpy road near Sange late Friday. The driver was injured in the accident and taken to a local clinic before the blast occurred.

Source: Xinhua


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