At least 40 people were killed in a gas tanker explosion in north-central Liberia late Tuesday, the country’s Chief Medical Officer Francis Kateh told reporters.

A fuel truck overturned on a road in Totota, Lower Bong County and caught fire, resulting in an explosion. According to the Liberian Observer, people rushed to the scene to collect gas, resulting in 30 injured and 40 deaths confirmed thus far. 

The tanker truck, supposedly delivering fuel to Ganta in Nimba County, flipped over and caught fire near the Upper Room Church in Totota.

Following the explosion, some people climbed on top of the truck while others had irons striking the tanker to collect the stored gas, Totota resident Aaron Massaquoi, an eyewitness, told news agency AFP.

“When the tanker fell, many people came from all over the town. Some were only looking as the gas was spilling, but others brought containers and collected the gas. So, in no time, the tanker caught fire as many people began running helter-skelter. Many people could not escape the blast,” an eyewitness told the Daily Observer

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Kateh also mentioned in a press briefing that the death toll could potentially increase due to continued house-to-house tracing. 

The United Nations claims that sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s highest collision death rate, three times higher than the average for Europe, due to inadequate infrastructure and poor road safety.