At Least 220 Dead in Oil Tanker Explosion - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

At Least 220 Dead in Oil Tanker Explosion

SANGE, Congo - A Red Cross official is describing it as a tragedy "for people who didn't have very much to begin with." A tanker truck hauling fuel on a rural eastern Congo highway overturned last night and began gushing oil. An hour later, it exploded in a massive fireball that killed at least 220 bystanders.

Officials and witnesses say many of the victims had been watching the World Cup in flimsy roadside shacks that were set ablaze. A U.N. official says some were trying to siphon fuel from the tanker, apparently unaware of the danger, when it ignited. The Red Cross says 61 children and 36 women were among the dead.

U.N. peacekeepers rushed to evacuate more than 200 wounded from the scene by helicopter and ambulance, while Red Cross teams carried the charred bodies from the scene in body bags and buried them in two mass graves a few miles away.

In a separate accident Friday, an out-of-control gasoline tanker flipped over and exploded outside the gates of a local hospital in northern Nigeria, killing 14 people.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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