Scores killed in Kenya petrol pipeline blast
Monday 12 September 2011
A leaking petrol pipeline exploded killing more than 70 people in a Kenyan slum today.
Flames shot 300 yards, setting shacks ablaze and incinerating scores of people.
It is thought the petrol caught fire as people tried to collect the spill in buckets and bowls.
"I've lost count of the number of bodies," said Wilfred Mbithi, the policeman in charge of operations in Nairobi as he stood at the scene. "Many had dived into the river trying to put out their flames."
The Red Cross said the death toll had reached 75 bodies with possibly more to come.
Resident Joseph Mwangi, 34, said he was feeding his cow when people went running past him, calling out that there was a leak in the pipeline. He said others started drawing fuel and that he was going to join them when he heard an explosion around.
Another man, Michael Muriuki, found the body of his five-year-old daughter still smouldering. He ran to the river for water to put her out. He took a deep breath and struggled for control before speaking.
"Her name was Josephine Muriuki. She was five," he said.
At the time of the explosion, the narrow, twisting alleyways were packed with people on their way to work or school who had stopped to try to scoop up fuel. The flimsy homes of corrugated iron sheets offered little resistance to the blast.
At least 112 burn victims have been taken to Kenyatta National Hospital, most with burns covering more than a third of their bodies.
In 2009, at least 120 people were killed when they were trying to scoop fuel spilled from a crashed petrol tanker in Kenya and it exploded.
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