Sierra Leone: At least 115 killed in fuel tanker fire

Image copyright EPA Image caption Emergency vehicles were deployed to move the bodies

The death toll from Sierra Leone’s largest ever tanker fire has risen to 115.

More than 100 people are still receiving treatment in a local hospital in the town of Kenema.

Fifty-five bodies were recovered in the first three days, after a fuel tanker collided with a truck.

The accident happened on Wednesday morning, shortly after the tanker from neighbouring Guinea burst into flames.

Witnesses said hundreds of villagers surrounded the tanker, trying to siphon fuel before the heat was too intense.

Owing to a shortage of emergency medical help, three helicopters were deployed to transport the dead to the hospital.

“Relatives of the dead left about 100 bodies in the crater where the tanker had burst,” said Kabba Brima, an environmentalist in Kenema.

He said that there was not enough protective clothing for the thousands of survivors, and those trapped in the blaze required the urgent attention of outside groups.

Villagers join funeral procession

“It’s horrible. The helicopters have given us medical assistance, but some people were killed and we don’t have the necessary medical care or equipment for them,” he told the BBC.

Photos show emergency vehicles stationed on the edges of the crater and on local roads, and an entire funeral procession in attendance in the town.

The flight of Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, who was on a visit to Guinea, was cancelled after the accident.

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