At least 73 people were killed and many injured when an oil tank truck burst into flames in a village in western Mozambique on Thursday, the nation’s public radio announced.
“The death toll of the incident is now 73,” state-run Radio Mocambique announced, citing authorities in Tete.
“The incident occurred when citizens tried to take petrol from a truck” in the village of Caphiridzange in Tete province, near Malawi, the government said in a statement.
The government added that 110 people were injured, some of them are critical. Children were among the wounded, it said.
Dozens of charred bodies were scattered around the blast site, and government officials believed more bodies might be in surrounding woods, Radio Mozambique reported. Some badly burned people had tried to run into a nearby river, the radio said.
Authorities were trying to determine whether the oil tank truck was selling petrol when it exploded, or whether it had been ambushed by residents, information ministry director Joao Manasses told AFP.
The government “deplores the loss of life… and is currently providing the necessary assistance in order to save lives and to comfort the victims’ families,” it said.
Three ministers were due to arrive at the scene on Friday in order to monitor the rescuers’ work.
Tete province was also hit by another tragedy in January 2015, when 75 people died from intoxication after drinking traditional beer.