Tragedy as 40 Die in Liberia Tanker Explosion
In a devastating incident in Central Liberia, a tanker truck carrying gasoline crashed and exploded, leading to fears of more than 40 casualties, according to the country’s chief medical officer, Dr Francis Kateh.
The tragic event unfolded in Totota, located approximately 130 kilometers from the capital, Monrovia.
Dr Kateh, speaking to local broadcaster Super Bongese TV, highlighted the challenges in accurately determining the number of victims due to some being reduced to ashes.
Despite earlier reports from the police indicating 15 fatalities and at least 30 injuries, the medical officer estimates that the death toll exceeds 40.
“We have our team going from home to home to check those that are missing,” he told AFP.
The Liberia National Police, initially reporting 15 deaths, noted that locals had gathered at the scene of the crash.
Deputy Inspector General Prince B. Mulbah revealed that, “There were lots of people that got burned.”
Eyewitness Aaron Massaquoi from Totota recounted a chaotic scene where people, disregarding warnings, attempted to extract gasoline from the leaking tanker.
“People were all around the truck and the driver of the truck told them that the gas that was spilling they could take that,” Massaquoi explained.
“He told them not to climb on top of the tanker and that they should stop hitting the tanker…. but some people were even using screwdrivers to put holes on the tank,” he added.
Tragically, the situation escalated when the tanker exploded, claiming lives and causing injuries.
Malvin Sackor, another police officer, shared that the authorities were still compiling the total number of casualties and injuries.