Ten people have been confirmed dead and many others still unaccounted for after an accident involving a fuel tanker, commuter taxis and a saloon car on Sunday evening in Western Uganda.
The incident according to police, happened at around 4pm at Kyambura Trading Centre in Ruburizi district when a fuel tanker from Mbarara lost control and rammed into two commuter taxis and a saloon car.
“The fuel tanker exploded into flames killing several people instantly. Three smaller secondary explosions from the parked vehicles followed. The stream of liquid fire from the fuel also burnt about 25 small shops over a stretch of over 30 metres,” Police said in the statement.
Despite the arrival of firefighting teams from Bushenyi and Kasese, by the time of their arrival, the four vehicles had been burnt severely and damaged.
“The joint security teams from the Police and UPDF have cordoned off the area. So far, 9 burnt bodies have been retrieved from the scene and transported to Lugazi Health Centre for further post mortem analysis and DNA profiling whereas another body was still trapped beneath the tanker truck and could not be retrieved due to the cover of darkness,” said the police spokesperson, Fred Enanga.
He said the scene remains closed as the operation to search for more bodies continues and also establish the number of the injured victims who were rushed to nearby health facilities.
The police mouthpiece urged relatives who could have lost their loved ones to visit the health centre and avail samples for DNA sampling, better identification and matching of the deceased persons.
There have been several incidents of explosion by fuel tankers after accidents in various parts of the country in the past.
In 2000, over 100 people were left dead after a fuel tanker exploded after an accident at Busesa trading centre.
Many of the deceased had gone to draw fuel from the tanker before it exploded killing them instantly.
In 2017 at the same spot, two people were left injured and property worth millions of shillings destroyed when a fuel tanker exploded after an accident.
In 2013, over 30 people died when a fuel tanker exploded at Namungoona along the Northern bypass in Kampala after an accident.
The accident happened when a Toyota Noah registration number UAS 374C rammed into a moving fuel tanker, registration number KBL 361B which overturned.
Sparks from the fuel tanker’s battery ignited the fire which killed dozens of people who had come to draw fuel.
Police has always warned members of the public against going near fuel tanker after accidents but many have refused to heed to the advice.