At least 57 people have died after a fuel tanker exploded in Tanzania, according to police.

Witnesses in Morogoro, which is 120 miles from Tanzania’s economic city of Dar es Salaam, said that “scores of people” gathered around the tanker, after it was involved in an accident early on Saturday.

They add that the tanker burst into flames as people were trying to siphon fuel from the vehicle.

Regional police commissioner Steven Kabwe told local Azam TV that 57 bodies have been recovered from the blast, with many others being treated for burns.

Daniel Ngogo, an eyewitness, said: “The fire was huge and it was challenging to rescue victims.

“I have seen about 65 to 70 people being rescued because the fire was fast spreading across the accident area.”

Incidents of people dying in fuel tanker explosions while stealing fuel from them are common in east Africa.

In 2013, a similar incident killed at least 29 people in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, as many people gathered at the scene of an accident.

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