Thursday 19 September 2019

Runaway tanker carrying volatile gas kills at least 33 in crash after 'losing control'

People look at the wreckage of a car burnt after a fireball from an tanker engulfed several vehicles and killed several people, near the Rift Valley town of Naivasha, west of Kenya's capital Nairobi, December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
People look at the wreckage of a car burnt after a fireball from an tanker engulfed several vehicles and killed several people, near the Rift Valley town of Naivasha, west of Kenya's capital Nairobi, December 11, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Tom Odula

A runaway tanker carrying volatile gas has slammed into other vehicles and burst into flames on a major road in Kenya, killing at least 33 people and injuring 10, officials said.

The tanker lost control while going downhill on the road from the capital Nairobi to Naivasha late on Saturday, said Mwachi Pius Masai, the deputy director and communications officer for the National Disaster Management Unit.

"This is a serious chemical incident," Mr Masai said. "Police and other rescuers are still on the scene ... clearing debris."

He said the death toll could rise.

Eleven vehicles were burned and continued to smoulder, and the ground around the crash site was scorched. Residents stood around looking dazed, with some taking photos or selfies with their phones.

"The lorry was in high speed and lost control after hitting speed bumps and ended up ramming into oncoming cars," said witness Peter Kimani.

Kenya has struggled to reduce the rising number of road accidents as more people acquire vehicles in a growing middle class.

In 2013, the government reintroduced breathalysers to limit accidents blamed on drink-drivers.

According to the National Transport and Safety Authority 1,574 people died in road accidents in the first half of this year, 86 more than in the same period last year.

PA Media

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