A massive fireball sparked by a fuel tanker explosion killed 98 people in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, the West African country’s disaster management agency said on Saturday.
The blast happened when a fuel tanker collided with another truck at a petrol station on Friday night, according to witnesses.
The flames then spread, burning people in cars and on roads nearby.
The majority of the victims were street vendors and motorcyclists, many of whom were caught in the blaze while trying to retrieve fuel leaking from the tanker before it ignited, according to volunteer worker Jusu Jacka Yorma who was at the scene.
The National Disaster Management Agency said in a statement that 98 deaths had been recorded so far and “92 survivors are currently admitted to various hospitals in Freetown”.
Vice-President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh had earlier given a death toll of 98 after arriving at the scene, adding that all those injured would receive free treatment.
A nurse at a hospital where victims were sent told AFP that many women, men and children had sustained “serious injuries”.
Rescue operations continued under police supervision on Saturday.