UN says at least 220 dead in oil tanker truck explosion
SANGE, Congo (AP) – A tanker truck hauling fuel on a rural eastern Congo highway overturned, gushing oil and exploding in a massive fireball that killed about 220 bystanders, including many who had been watching the World Cup in flimsy roadside shacks, officials and witnesses said Saturday.
The Red Cross said at least 61 children and 36 women were among the dead. Witnesses said dozens of people had descended on the truck to siphon fuel illegally from the wreckage with jerry-cans and plastic buckets, apparently unaware of the danger.
U.N. peacekeepers rushed to evacuate more than 200 wounded from the scene by helicopter and ambulance, while Red Cross teams carried the charred bodies from the scene in body bags and buried them in two mass graves a few miles away.
The truck overturned as it was trying to pass a minibus late Friday. The vehicle began gushing oil, then burst into flames an hour later.