NAIROBI, Kenya -- A fuel tanker exploded in western Kenya while people were siphoning fuel from it, killing 13 people, police said Sunday.
Residents started siphoning fuel from the tanker after it was involved in a crash late Saturday with a trailer near the Malanga Village in Siaya county, Gem subcounty Police commander Charles Chacha said.
“The trailer which was ferrying 20 tons of milk hit the fuel tanker which was heading to Busia,” he said.
“The tanker hit the vehicle on the right rear side. As a result of the impact, it overturned on the extreme left side of the road,” he said.
He said that members of the public, rushed to the crash scene to siphon fuel.
”Moments later, the fuel tanker burst into flames," he said.
Despite warnings from authorities of the dangers of siphoning after the deaths of hundreds in previous incidents, many Kenyans continue to do it because they are pressed by poverty.
In 2009, at least 120 people were killed after a huge crowd descended on an overturned gasoline tanker, which then blew up. But poverty-stricken families say they have little choice: spiraling food and fuel prices mean many can't feed their children.