At least seven people were killed and 46 others injured Monday during the explosion of a tanker transporting fuel on a road in northern Colombia, according to local authorities. The explosion occurred when dozens of people approached to steal fuel from the truck that had overturned on the road between Barranquilla and Santa Marta, cities on the Caribbean coast, police said.
"We think that there are about seven people who died burned in this tragic accident," said Fabian Ospino, mayor of Pueblo Viejo, the town where the accident occurred, in a video broadcast on social networks . The police then confirmed in a statement the death toll of seven dead and 46 injured. According to video footage released by the authorities, dozens of people were filling plastic cans with fuel when the truck exploded.
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President Ivan Duque sent a message to the families of the victims. "It is really a painful situation ," he said in Bogota in this "message of solidarity with the people who lost their loved ones in this accident" . For his part, Carlos Caicedo, governor of the Magdalena department, where the explosion occurred, added in a live statement via Facebook, that "there are people with 90% burns" and for which the "medical is reserved" diagnosis , without specifying the number. The wounded will have to be transferred to other departments, according to the governor. "We are preparing a medical flight with the air force (...) to be able to send patients to other cities, where there are services for burn victims," he added, adding that the department does not didn't have one.
The Caribbean coast is also one of the regions of Colombia most affected by the new coronavirus pandemic, while the country has to date 117,110 cases, including 4,064 deaths, since March 6. In some cities like Barranquilla, located 45 km from the accident, the health system is almost saturated.