Liberia fuel tanker explosion death toll rises above 50

Flames coming from the crashed fuel tanker in Liberia
Image caption,People tried to scoop fuel from the tanker after it had tipped over into a ditch

By Moses Kollie Garzeawu

BBC News, Monrovia

The death toll from Tuesday’s fuel tanker crash and explosion in Liberia has risen to 52 after 12 more people died from their injuries, Health Minister Dr Wilhelmina Jallah said.

The tanker overturned along a road in Totota town, about 130km (80 miles) from the capital, Monrovia.

It burst into flames soon after people rushed to the site to scoop fuel from the tanker, eyewitnesses said.

Some of the bodies were burnt to ashes, one health official said.

Dr Jallah also told the BBC that about 89 others, who are in being treated in hospital, are in a very critical state.

The cause of the crash is unclear.

Video footage shows that a large number of people, including children, had gathered around the tanker after it overturned.

Some had buckets and jerrycans and others were on top of the tanker when it burst into flames.

Liberia’s President George Weah expressed his condolences to the families of the dead, saying he found images of the tragedy “deeply disturbing”, his office said.

Mr Weah has given the health authorities his “full backing to beef up manpower and equipment where necessary in their frantic effort to save lives”, the statement added.

Meanwhile a group calling itself the Concerned Bong County Citizens has urged the president to declare a national day of mourning.”Such a day will give us the opportunity as a nation and people to collectively mourn the death of so many of our compatriots”, it said in a statement.

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