A damaged tanker truck exploded in eastern Tanzania Saturday as people were trying to siphon fuel out of it, killing at least 57, police say. A regional police commissioner tells local media that many other people suffered burns in the explosion in the town of Morogoro. The BBC reports as many as 70 people were injured. Witnesses in the town, which lies about 120 miles from Tanzania's economic hub of Dar es Salaam, tell the AP that scores of people had gathered around the fuel tanker after it was involved in an accident early Saturday. They said people were trying to siphon away fuel when the tanker burst into flames.
"The situation is really bad," one witness tells the BBC. "Many people died here, even those who were not stealing fuel because this is a busy place." A local police chief says many of the dead were motorcycle taxi drivers. Incidents of people being killed in explosions while stealing fuel from incapacitated tankers are common in East Africa. In 2013, a similarly deadly incident killed at least 29 people on the outskirts of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, as scores swarmed around the scene of an accident. (Read more Tanzania stories.)