Thirteen people have been killed and others seriously burnt when a “huge fireball” engulfed a crowd in Kenya as they siphoned fuel from an overturned petrol truck that ignited without warning.
Police said on Sunday that the death toll could rise, with investigators trying to account for the missing, and charred bones found among the twisted wreckage of the fuel tanker.
The truck collided with another vehicle and turned over late Saturday near Malanga, some 315 kilometers (195 miles) northwest of Nairobi, on the busy highway between Kisumu and the border with Uganda.
Onlookers rushed to the crash site with jerrycans to collect the leaking fuel but shortly after, the truck exploded, consuming the crowd in a terrible inferno.
“We were woken up by a very loud blast. When I rushed out, I saw a huge fireball and people were screaming,” said nearby resident Jack Odhiambo.
Those on the scene first managed to get away safely with some fuel, said witness Magdalene Adhiambo.
But others went back for a second round, and the crowd grew larger as more and more people arrived hoping to get lucky.
“That’s when the fire started,” she said.
Wycliffe Otieno said he had just started filling his jerrycan when the slick around him ignited.
“I was able to run to safety… I just don’t know how lucky I was, because I have been told the people we were with did not survive,” Otieno said from his hospital bed.
Fire crews arrived on the scene two hours later to douse the inferno. The cause of the explosion is not yet known.