List of tanker explosions

(Redirected from Mihăileşti explosion)

This is a list of tanker explosions, including tank cars and tank trucks.

Before 2010 edit

Memphis, United States (1988) edit

On 23 December 1988, a tank truck carrying propane on the Interstate 40 in Memphis, Tennessee, skidded from a ramp and rolled over.[1][2] A small puncture released a vapour cloud that ignited in a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion, creating a fireball 700 feet (210 m) in diameter.[3] The tank was propelled into a nearby duplex, starting another fire.[4] A total of nine people were killed, and another ten were injured.[5]

Ibadan, Nigeria (2000) edit

The Ibadan tanker truck explosion was one of the worst ever multi-vehicle accidents, killing between 100 and 200 people near Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria on 5 November 2000. Estimates of casualties in the disaster remain imprecise. The police and other rescue services did not offer any assistance until some time after the blast, and so numerous bodies were removed by relatives or volunteer rescuers and privately buried, whilst others were cremated in the fire. Most sources simply give a vague "over 100 dead" despite the official count of 96 recovered bodies, and offer statements that "the final death toll could be much higher". What is certain is that local hospitals were totally swamped with hundreds of badly injured burn victims, creating a major crisis in the country's health service, which simply could not cope with so many badly injured patients in this area. The Nigerian police reported that they had recovered 115 destroyed vehicles from the roadway in the aftermath of the accident, implying a substantially higher death toll than initially quoted. Later sources however are restricted to using high round figures rather than accurate data, with Namibian sources reporting 150 killed, whilst Indian newspapers suggesting 200 died. Clearly the real figure is not known and never will be known, because of the failure of the authorities to deal effectively with the crisis. Their failure to do so stirred a serious and violent controversy in Nigeria.

The crash was surrounded by major controversy because in the previous four months over 150 people had been killed in high profile crashes involving petrol tankers and buses. These crashes had led to such incidents as the Abuja bus crash riots, in which four more people had been killed, as well as growing resentment of the police and civil authorities who failed to take any responsibility for the country's appalling road safety record. The reason for the police absence was complicated. The unit with jurisdiction in the area was the Osun State Police, who had been the subjects of numerous corruption complaints. According to local sources, the reason that so many cars were lined up on the motorway before the crash was that the State Police were exacting a toll from motorists from an impromptu roadblock they had set up. This protection racket was what locals said led to the disaster because it caused a jam at an unusual place, causing the tanker driver to brake suddenly, fail, and crash. The State Police denied the charges, instead insisting that the jam was due to roadworks, and that there was not one single police officer in the district at the time of the crash. The police claimed that when one of their vehicles arrived at the still blazing accident site shortly after the crash, it was attacked by a furious mob, set alight and destroyed, the four occupants escaping only after receiving a beating.[citation needed]

Mihăilești, Romania (2004) edit

TV report after the Mihăilești explosion

The Mihăilești explosion occurred on 24 May 2004 in the village of Mihăilești, Buzău County, Romania. A truck loaded with ammonium nitrate rolled over and caught fire before exploding an hour later killing at least 18 people and injuring 13 others.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

At 4:57 AM local time, a truck loaded with 20 tons of ammonium nitrate rolled over on the express road E85 connecting Bucharest with Moldavia. Soon after the accident, the truck caught fire, so the driver immediately called the emergency number. Two fire trucks arrived at the scene 20 minutes later and started putting out the fire. A TV crew also arrived and started filming for a news program. Meanwhile, curious villagers gathered around the accident site. At 5:47 AM, a small explosion took place in the cabin of the truck, followed two minutes later by a larger explosion, killing seven firefighters, the TV crew (Ionuț Barbu and Elena Popescu from Antena 1),[6] several villagers and the truck driver, totalling 18 people; 13 others were injured. Of the 18 killed, two people (the truck driver and one of the firefighters) had to be identified by means of DNA testing. The explosion left behind a 6.5 meter deep crater, scattered human remains and debris over a several hundred meters radius, and caused damage amounting to about 70,000 euros.

Following this event, safety regulations for the transport of chemical substances were improved and ammonium nitrate was classified as a hazardous chemical compound. Ion Gherghe, the director of the Doljchim plant which produced the ammonium nitrate, and the managers of the two companies involved in the transport of this substance without safety measures, Mihai Gună and Ionel Ionuț Neagoe were charged with homicide by negligence and destruction of property. All were found guilty and sentenced to four years in jail, as well as the payment of compensations to the victims' families.

Molo, Kenya (2009) edit

The Molo fire was an oil spill ignition that appeared in Molo, Kenya, on January 31, 2009, and resulted in the deaths of at least 113 people and critical injuries to over 200 more. The incident occurred when an oil spill from an overturned truck burst into flames as onlookers attempted to obtain remnants of the spilled fuel for personal use. Rescuers suggested the cause to be static electricity, an accidentally-discarded cigarette, or an individual angered at a police blockade who sought vengeance.[12] Police have described the carnage as Kenya's worst disaster in recent times, occurring in a country hit by frequent fuel shortages and just days after a supermarket fire killed 25.[13]

In June 2009, another similar accident occurred, when an oil tanker fire killed at least four and injured nearly 50 people at Kapokyek village near Kericho. The victims were siphoning fuel from the tanker that had fallen off the road.[14] The fire was the second such disaster in Kenya that week, following the deaths of at least 25 people in a Nairobi supermarket when a branch of Nakumatt caught fire. The Kenyan media has been criticizing the government for its poor safety standards and inadequate disaster preparation.[15] Following that blaze, the Daily Nation reported that Nairobi's three million inhabitants were served only by one fire station situated close to a traffic-choked business district.[16]

2010–2019 edit

Sange, Democratic Republic of the Congo (2010) edit

Mass burial of victims of the "Catastrophe de Sange"

The catastrophe of Sange was the explosion of a tank truck on 2 July 2010[17] in South Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[18][19][20] The truck overturned in the village of Sange and later exploded, resulting in at least 230 deaths and 196 injured. The tanker overturned in the village of Sange, near the Congo-Burundi border.[18] Mende Omalanga, the Democratic Republic of Congo's Minister of Communications, claimed that the tanker was trying to overtake a bus.[17] A local police officer reported that the driver was traveling at an "excessive speed".[18]

An explosion occurred as villagers attempted to collect the fuel that was spilling from the overturned vehicle. "There was a crush (of people) and a petrol leak".[21] The minister of communications, Lambert Omalanga, said that one local resident was smoking a cigarette, a spark from which ignited the fuel.[17] Many mud and grass huts were destroyed in the subsequent fire.[22][23]

Among the dead were 36 women and 61 children.[24] Some of the injured had severe burn wounds.[25] A medical source said that the local hospitals "do not have necessary logistical materials to treat those who are seriously injured".[26] It was initially reported that five of the dead were United Nations peacekeepers,[17] but this was reported later as being incorrect.[18]

Alakija, Nigeria (2010) edit

The Alakija tanker explosion was a tanker explosion that occurred at Alakija area of Mile 2, a commercial area along Badagry expressway, Lagos State, Nigeria.[27] The incident was reported to had occurred on December 1, 2010 when a tanker loaded with liters of gasoline lost control.[28] The content of the tanker spewed on the road leading to an explosion that claimed the lives of about 20 people and leaving several others severely injured.[29] Four vehicles, including 2 commuter buses filled with more than 24 commuters and 2 private cars, were burnt.[30] Taiwo Abayomi, the Area Commander of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority confirmed the incident.[31]

Shaanxi, China (2012) edit

On 26 August 2012, a double-decker sleeper bus crashed into a tanker in northern China, near the city of Yan'an in the Shaanxi province. The tanker was loaded with highly flammable methanol. 36 people were killed.[citation needed] The accident was the deadliest in China since the 2011 Xinyang bus fire, when a fire in an overcrowded sleeper bus containing flammable material killed 41 people.[32]

On 26 August 2012, a tanker returned to the highway following an early-morning rest stop. Meanwhile, a double-decker sleeper bus carrying 39 people left Hohhot, in Inner Mongolia, and headed south to Xi'an.[33] The tanker was rear-ended by the bus at approximately 2:00 a.m. on the Baotou-Maoming motorway[34] in north China.[33] The tanker was loaded with highly flammable methanol, causing the tanker and bus to explode in flames. Thirty-six people were killed in the crash,[33] partly due to the fact that many of the passengers were sleeping at the time of the explosion.[34] Three people survived the crash but were hospitalized with injuries.[33][34] On 5 September 2012, the Public security bureau of Ansai District announced that it had confirmed the identities of 35 of those killed, with one male victim being unidentified.[35]

Following pictures of safety official Yang Dacai depicting him grinning at the scene of the crash, Chinese officials have launched an investigation into Yang, although Yang said he was simply trying to cheer people. Web users have been outraged at the pictures, and some web users discovered pictures of Yang wearing wrist watches which cost over $40,000, and demanded an investigation into Yang's behavior. However, Yang has said that he "used legal income" to buy these watches.[36] Nonetheless, he was later stripped of all his official duties for "serious wrongdoing" amid reports that officials were also investigating other trails of "wrongdoing."[37] He was later jailed for 14 years on charges of bribery and possessing a large amount of funds on unclear grounds.[38][39]

Okobie, Nigeria (2012) edit

The Okobie road tanker explosion occurred on 12 July 2012 when a tank truck in Okobie, Nigeria, fell into a ditch, spilled its petrol contents, and subsequently exploded, killing at least 121.[40] The tanker attempted to avoid a collision with two cars and a bus,[41] veered into a ditch, and spilled fuel.[40] Hundreds of locals rushed to the scene to take some of the spilled petrol.[42]

About 40 minutes after the accident, the tanker exploded. The death toll was initially placed at 95,[43] including 93 people who perished instantly and two who died after being brought to hospital.[41] The death toll was later revised to 121 after more bodies were recovered from neighboring villages where they had been taken by their relatives. The number of injured was at least 75, although the actual number was likely higher as some were treated by relatives or at private clinics. Some 34 motorcycle taxis were destroyed.[41] The drivers of the motorcycles, known as Okada in Nigeria, came to scoop up spilled fuel for their vehicles after learning of the accident and became victims of the explosion.[43] In separate statements, the Nigerian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Road Safety Commission of Rivers State gave the same figures for the incident.[41]

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2012) edit

The 2012 Riyadh truck crash occurred on 1 November 2012, when a truck carrying fuel crashed into an intersection flyover in the east of Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia.[44] The lorry hit a bridge pylon on Khureis Road and the petrol it was carrying leaked into the surroundings, and then ignited. Al Ekhbariya television reported that the blast killed 23 people outright and injured 111, with the death toll expected to rise even higher; although the Saudi health ministry reported the injury total was closer to 135.[45] An Agence France-Presse photographer on the scene described widespread damage, with charred bodies and machinery being hauled from the wreckage. Due to the force of the blast, another truck fell off of the flyover. Amateur video showed black smoke billowing into the sky, visible throughout the city.[45]

The scene of the crash was within close vicinity of Prince Nayef Arab University for Security Studies, as well as the headquarters of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, thus instigating the speculation of terrorist collusion or perpetration. However, a police spokesman stated that this was inexorably not the case, explaining "the truck driver was surprised by a road accident on its route, causing it to crash into one of the pillars of the bridge".[46] The police also posited that due to it being the Eid al-Adha holiday, the casualty total was significantly less than it would have been during a normal day, because of vastly reduced traffic. The Riyadh Police also warned against congregating near the scene of the crash, as roughly 10,000 people took to doing so just an hour after the accident occurred.[47]

On 2 November, the Saudi health ministry stated that the death toll was confirmed to have risen to 26 through the night, including Saudis, Filipinos (the lorry driver's nationality), and victims of other nationalities.[48][49] The crash is expected to cost more than 300 million riyals.[50] According to Saudi Minister of Health Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabiah, 90 of the injured have been released from the hospital, but 43 are still under intensive medical care.[50] The driver was arrested, but the charges against him are unknown.[50]

Ecatepec de Morelos, Mexico (2013) edit

The Ecatepec de Morelos explosion was caused by a gas tanker similar to this one, owned by Mexican company Sonigas.

On 7 May 2013, at about 05:15 local time (12:15 GMT), a gas tanker exploded on Federal Highway 85 "México–Pachuca" in Ecatepec de Morelos, a municipality in the State of Mexico about 14 km (8.7 mi) north-east of Mexico City.[51] As a result of the accident, 27 people were killed, including 10 children, and another 31 people were injured.[52][53] Among the dead was a family of four, including two children aged 11 and 6.[51] Twenty-three people were hospitalized, eight of them in serious condition.[54] Many of the casualties were asleep in their homes along the edge of the road at the time of the accident.[51]

The blast led to extensive fires which damaged 45 homes and 16 vehicles.[54] Local media reports described the area as resembling a "war zone".[51] "It was a ball of fire which exploded as though they'd put a spotlight in the whole window," said an eyewitness. "We opened the door and it was like fire had blown through the whole of the garden."[55] Roughly 100 people were left homeless by the accident.[54] Several animals were killed by the explosion, but some others were rescued.[56][57] Although Pemex was not involved in the crash, the company said it would help with rescue efforts.[55]

According to early reports, the driver of the tanker, Omar Díaz Olivares,[58] allegedly was speeding and lost control of his vehicle.[54] He then crashed into several cars and homes before the tanker exploded.[54][59] Díaz was taken to the local hospital, where he was arrested.[51] The highway remained closed for five hours, but later a few highway lanes were opened. According to Díaz' declaration, he lost control of the tanker after he tried to evade a minivan.

President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto requested the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation, as well as Mexico Civil Protection System, to investigate the causes of the accident.[60] Eruviel Ávila, governor of the State of Mexico, returned to Mexico. Ávila was on an official visit to Vatican City, but after the explosions he decided to cancel his trip.[61][62] He announced state government-paid funeral expenses of the families of the victims,[63] and affected people will receive MXN$50,000 (about US$5,000) to "rebuild their homes", and MXN$25,000 (about US$2,000) to buy home appliances.[52][64] The company Termogas, owner of the truck, announced they will be responsible for damages, if their truck was the cause of the accident.[65] Alfredo Martínez Torres, Secretariat of Urban Development of the State of Mexico, announced at least 110 families that live near the highway will be relocated.[66]

Kirikiri, Nigeria (2014) edit

The Kirikiri tanker explosion was a tanker explosion that occurred at Kirikiri, Apapa, the major port of the city of Lagos State, Nigeria, located in the west of Lagos Island.[67] The incident was reported to have occurred on 7 January 2014 when a tanker loaded with about 33,000 liters of gasoline rammed into parked vehicles.[68] The spilling of the gasoline resulted in an explosion that killed about 15 people, leaving several others seriously injured.[69] Sterling bank was affected, one Automated Teller Machine, 11 cars and 60 shops were burnt as well.[70] The spokesperson to the National Emergency Management Agency of the South-West Zone, Ibrahim Farinloye confirm the incident.[71]

Juba, South Sudan (2015) edit

The Juba tanker explosion was a tank truck explosion that occurred 17 September 2015 in a suburb of Juba, the capital of South Sudan. It killed an estimated 176 people, most casualties coming from the crowd that had converged on the scene of the leaking tanker. The Red Cross dispatched aid to the suburb of Maridi after the incident.[72][73] The death toll increased to 183 people being dead from the incident.[74] It soon increased to 193 people dead.[75]

Caphiridzange, Mozambique (2016) edit

The Caphiridzange explosion was an accident that occurred on 17 November 2016.[76][77] 80 people were killed and more than a hundred people injured in a fuel tanker explosion in the town of Caphiridzange, Tete Province, Mozambique.[78][79][80][81][82][83][84] The fuel tanker was en route to Malawi at the time and carried 30,000 liters of gasoline.[85] The government subsequently declared three days of national mourning on 19 November to pay tribute to the victims.[86]

Bahawalpur, Pakistan (2017) edit

The site of the Bahawalpur exploision

On 25 June 2017, a tanker truck exploded near Ahmedpur East in Pakistan's Bahawalpur District, killing 219 people and injuring at least 34 others. The truck overturned when its driver attempted to make a sharp turn on the N-5 National Highway. Once the news of the accident spread to nearby villages, hundreds of residents rushed to the scene to loot the truck of its cargo. The truck then exploded; early reports suggested the explosion was caused by someone lighting a cigarette.

Around 06:00 local time (01:00 GMT), a tank truck carrying 50,000 litres of fuel overturned due to the driver sleeping on N-5 National Highway near Ahmedpur East, Bahawalpur District, in Punjab, Pakistan. The truck was travelling from Karachi to Vehari.[87][88][89] News of the accident quickly spread to the nearby village of Ramzanpur Joya, with villagers being alerted via the loudspeaker on top of a local mosque.[90] A large number of people busy working in mango farms beside the road (one source estimated about 500[91]), including men, women, and children, subsequently gathered at the site to collect leaking petrol. The crowd ignored attempts by police to clear the area.[92] About 10 minutes later, the truck exploded after leaked fuel from its damaged container caught fire, killing at least 148 people.[90] Dozens of those injured died in the following days, bringing the death toll to 219 with 34 others still being treated in hospitals as of 11 July 2017.[93][94] According to some media reports, the explosion occurred about 45 minutes after the initial truck crash.[92][95] There were conflicting preliminary reports about the cause of the explosion: some said the fuel was ignited by an attempt to light a cigarette near the overturned tanker,[92] and others blamed a spark from one of the numerous cars and motorcycles that rushed to the scene.[96]

National Highways & Motorway Police suspended traffic and set up two diversions, near Noorpur Nauranga and further ahead of Dera Nawaz.[97] The Rescue 1122 and fire brigade arrived on the site of the incident immediately after the blaze started, and rescue operations were initiated. Firefighters fought the blaze for over two hours before extinguishing the fire.[98] At least 90 of the victims were taken to District Headquarters Hospital and Bahawal Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur. Pakistan Army helicopters were used to transfer 51 injured people from Bahawalpur to Nishtar Hospital in Multan.[96]

Most bodies were burned beyond recognition, many down to their skeletons.[91] At least six cars and twelve motorcycles were burned in the explosion.[96] The highway was littered with kitchen utensils, pots, water coolers, jerrycans and buckets which victims had brought to collect the petrol. The driver of the fuel tanker was kept under arrest for investigation, but he was one of those in critical condition and later died at a hospital. Over 120 dead victims, who were beyond recognition, were buried in a mass grave.[99]

Mbuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo (2018) edit

The Mbuba road tanker explosion was the traffic collision and explosion of a tank truck on 6 October 2018 in Kongo Central, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[100] The vehicle collided with another truck in the village of Mbuba and later exploded, killing at least 50 people and injuring more than 100 others.[101][102][103] Following the crash, villagers of Mbuba started to collect fuel which leaked from the vehicles. After few minutes, fuel began to burn and destroy nearby houses.[104] The United Nations mission in DRC, MONUSCO, had sent nine ambulances to the Kisantu, which is where the most of injured were evacuated to shortly after accident.[105]

Hub, Pakistan (2019) edit

2019 Hub accident refers to a road accident on 21 January 2019 in which a passenger bus collided with a tank truck in Hub, Balochistan, Pakistan. At least 26 people were killed and 16 others suffered burn injuries as a result of the accident. The bus was travelling from Karachi to Panjgur with more than 40 people on board. The dead bodies were moved to Edhi Foundation's morgue in Sohrab Goth, Karachi.[106][107][108][109][110][111] A joint investigation team was established to investigate the crash.[112]

Morogoro, Tanzania (2019) edit

On 10 August 2019, a fuel tanker exploded in Morogoro, Tanzania, killing over 100 people and injuring at least 47 others.[113][114] It was one of the largest disasters of its kind in Tanzania.[115] The incident happened in the town of Morogoro, which is located 185 km (115 mi) west of Dar es Salaam. A fuel tanker crashed and people gathered at the accident site to collect the fuel. The tanker exploded, initially burning 60 people to death. Video footage of the incident began circulating on social media, in which many people can be seen collecting fuel in yellow containers and jerrycans.[116] Another 55 people were injured in the incident and many suffered serious burns.[117]

The explosion occurred at 8:30 am EAT, 20 minutes after a fuel tanker overturned while trying to avoid colliding with a motorcyclist.[118] The crash happened near Msamvu Bus Terminal.[119] The road on which the crash occurred connects Morogoro to the financial capital Dar es Salaam and is heavily used.[118] Witnesses say that a crowd of at least 150 people gathered at the scene. The crowd began collecting the fuel using yellow jerrycans[120] and continued even when the tanker burst into flames.[121] A video was posted by local news channel Kwanza TV on Twitter, showing groups of people attempting to gather fuel around the tanker.[122]

One of the witnesses, who was identified as Daniel Ngogo,[123] described the scene as chaotic with a huge fire which made it "challenging to rescue victims. The situation is really bad. Many people died here – even those who were not stealing fuel – because this is a busy place".[124] At 3:00 pm EAT, rescue operations finished and all the bodies were removed from the scene.[118] The regional police commissioner, Wilbard Mutafungwa, stated that many people suffered burns as a result of the explosion.[125]

Official police figures reported 75 deaths and at least 55 people injured.[117] Most of the victims were identified as local motorcycle taxi drivers who were present at the scene and people who attempted to gather fuel.[126] Morogoro regional commissioner Stephen Kebwe said it was the worst disaster in the region,[127] and warned of more possible deaths.[128] Afterwards, government spokesperson Hassan Abbas said, "the rescue operations finished by 3 p.m. local time. The scene was cordoned off and all bodies were removed from the scene into a local hospital for identification."[129]

2020-present edit

Pueblo Viejo, Colombia (2020) edit

The village of Tasajera in 2022

The Tasajera explosion took place in the village of Tasajera, municipality of Pueblo Viejo, Colombia on Monday, 6 July 2020. A tanker truck that was transporting gasoline to Barranquilla along a Caribbean road overturned in Tasajera. According to the Magdalena police report, the driver swerved, lost control, and went off the road; the driver was uninjured.[130] Some of the villagers took advantage of the situation to collect the fuel. When they tried to steal the vehicle's battery by extracting it, the gasoline exploded, leaving 45 people dead and at least 19 injured.[131]

On 6 July 2020, a tanker truck driven by trucker Manuel Cataño Hernández was transporting gasoline to Barranquilla along the Caribbean highway. Around 0830, shortly after passing through the toll of that corregimiento, the truck overturned on the highway, ending up in an accident on the left side of the road with the driver inside, at kilometer 47 of the Tasajera corregimiento. According to the driver of the truck who survived the accident, he was able to get out of the truck by his own means and the overturning occurred due to avoiding a crocodile that was crossing, making a sudden maneuver and losing control of the truck.[132][133]

Upon hearing the news of the accident, several residents of nearby towns, most of them from Tasajera, gathered at the scene of the accident with several gallons and empty buckets to steal gasoline to later be sold. The police who were at the scene were unable to stop them due to the large number of people.[citation needed] While several people were getting gasoline out of the truck and checking the driver's cabin, as seen in a video taken by a witness at the scene, the truck's tank suddenly exploded, engulfing all the nearby people who were crowded around it with its flames. This instantly killed seven of them whose bodies were charred and wounded more than fifty other people, most of whom died over the next two weeks until 22 July, when the last death would was recorded.[134] All the registered victims were male and most were under 30 years of age, with some even being minors. Also, several of the victims were relatives to each other, so several families lost several members due to the incident.[135][136]

In an amateur video recorded by a cell phone, the exact moment of the explosion was captured, but a potential ignition source was not visible. According to witnesses, the conflagration was generated when two of the people close to the car tried to detach the battery from it.[137] Another reason could be the static electricity generated by the human body at a level sufficient to generate a spark triggered the explosion. Of these two hypotheses, the first was the most accepted by the authorities.[citation needed]

The health authorities of Magdalena released the list of those killed. The bodies of seven of them were burned and had to be identified by DNA samples taken from their relatives.[138][139] The other victims died in different hospitals to which they were transferred.[140] The Texas Shriners Hospital in the United States, donated 35,000 square centimeters of skin grafts to start treatment for patients who were burned in the fire.[141] On 6 August 2020, a month after the tragedy, hundreds of relatives and friends of the victims organized a tribute and inaugurated a mural at the place where the explosion occurred with photos and names of the deceased to remember them.[142][143]

Tleil, Lebanon (2021) edit

At least 28 people were killed and 79 people injured after a fuel tanker explosion in Tleil, Akkar District, Lebanon on 15 August 2021.[144] The disaster was reportedly exacerbated by the ongoing Lebanese liquidity crisis; in which the Lebanese pound has plummeted and fuel has been in short supply.[145] The survivors were evacuated by the Lebanese Red Cross.[146] In response the Lebanese Army opened an investigation into the incident.[147][148] The fuel tanker had been confiscated by the Lebanese Armed Forces from black marketeers, the fuel was then distributed/taken by the locals.[149] The son of the man whose land the fuel tanker was located on, was later arrested, accused of deliberately causing the explosion.[150][151][152]

Freetown, Sierra Leone (2021) edit

At approximately 22:00 GMT on 5 November 2021, a fuel tanker carrying petrol attempted to make a turn outside Choithram Supermarket in the Freetown suburb of Wellington. A lorry reported to be carrying granite collided with the tanker at the junction creating a fuel leakage.[153][154][155] The two drivers came out of their vehicles and warned community residents to stay off the scene, according to Sierra Leone's National Disaster Management Agency.[154] Petrol spilled from the tanker and locals, particularly okada riders, attempted to collect it in containers. An explosion led to a huge fireball that engulfed vehicles, people and passengers that were stuck in traffic created by the initial collision.[156] The mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, said that the damage was exacerbated by people who gathered at the lorry, scooped the leaking fuel in containers and placed them in close proximity to the crash scene.[157] This created traffic chaos with many people, including passengers in cars and buses, stuck very close to the scene of the accident.[158][159]

Many of the victims were trapped in vehicles,[153][158] including a bus full of people which was intensely burnt, killing all inside. Nearby shops and markets caught fire after fuel spilled onto the streets.[158] Footage broadcast by local media outlets showed charred bodies surrounding the tanker.[153] At least 99 people were initially confirmed to have been killed in the disaster, and more than 100 others were injured.[159] The death toll rose to 131 five days after the explosion[160] and reached 151 by 6 December.[161]

The Directorate of the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), issued a statement confirming that the injured had been transferred to hospitals and the bodies had been collected. They added that rescue efforts at the scene had ended by 16:45 GMT on 6 November. Several people are in critical condition.[162] According to a staff member at Connaught Hospital's intensive care unit, about 30 severely burned victims taken to the unit were not expected to survive.[154] Sierra Leone's president Julius Maada Bio, who was attending the United Nations climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, offered condolences and promised support to the victims' families.[154][158] The country's vice president Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh visited two of the hospitals where some of the victims were taken to for treatment,[154] but it was later reported that the hospital services had been completely overwhelmed.[158] On 8 November those who died during the explosion were buried in a mass ceremony in Waterloo, on the outskirts of Freetown.[163] President Bio declared a three-day national mourning and ordered all flags to be flown at half-mast, and indicated that a task force will be set up to look into what happened, and will provide recommendations that will help to avoid similar tragedies in the future.[163]

Cap-Haïtien, Haiti (2021) edit

Location where the Cap-Haïtien explosion occurred, pictured in 2019.

On 14 December 2021, a fuel tank truck exploded in the Samari neighborhood of Cap-Haïtien,[164] the capital city of the Haitian department of Nord. At least 90 people were killed and more than 120 were injured; many people were injured as a result of rushing towards the tanker, likely to collect some of its cargo, before the explosion occurred. Many inhabitants are suffering from a huge financial crisis.[165][166] Haiti, hit with an economic crisis worsened by an earthquake four months earlier, was unable to adequately treat victims of the explosion, with hospitals undersupplied and in disarray.

A fuel tanker carrying 9,000 US gallons (34,000 L; 7,500 imp gal) of gasoline, in an attempt to avoid a motorbike, overturned and began spilling fuel.[167] The driver of the truck exited the vehicle and warned bystanders not to approach.[168] However some of the victims of the explosion had rushed forward after the initial crash. After it exploded fuel stored in nearby houses worsened the extent of the explosion.[169] The blast also set 50 homes on fire, damaged businesses, and charred vehicles.[167][170] The cause of the explosion was trash that was smoldering when gasoline from the truck reached it.[165] Firefighters were dispatched to the area, but due to water shortages had to call in aid from airport fire services.[171]

Ninety people were killed in the explosion and more than 100 people were injured.[165][172][173] After the explosion, several victims were injured due to trampling.[172] Ambulances took up to five hours to arrive, and 15 victims had to be airlifted.[165][171] Victims were sent to smaller, less equipped hospitals because the largest hospital in the city had shut down in November, due to being attacked by bandits. These hospitals were overwhelmed and were unable to handle the victims, as they lacked basic supplies, with some victims being placed on the floor or the yard of the hospital due to the lack of hospital beds.[165][172] Fourteen victims died while in the hospital.[169]Field hospitals were also set up in the city.[171] UNICEF sent medical equipment to the city for burn victims.[170] Acting President and Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced three days of mourning in the country.[167]

Boksburg, South Africa (2022) edit

On 24 December 2022, a fuel tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas exploded in Gauteng, South Africa.[174] 41 people were killed.[175] Tambo Memorial Hospital was adjacent to the explosion, causing a significant casualty rate among the staff and patients.[176][177] The truck driver was arrested, but the charges were dropped.[178]

References edit

  1. ^ Michael S. Isner (6 February 1990). Fire Investigation Report: Propane Tank Truck Incident, Eight People Killed, Memphis, Tennessee, December 23, 1988 (Report). National Fire Protection Association. Archived from the original on 28 January 2021. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  2. ^ "Road test passed by tanker". Johnson City Press. Associated Press. 26 December 1988. p. 3. Retrieved 16 January 2021 – via
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