A propane fuel tanker truck crashed, caught fire, and then exploded in Riyadh on Thursday, killing at least 22 people, injuring many more, and led to fires that destroyed buildings in the neighborhood. It was sheer bad luck that the accident happened beneath an underpass, which would have heightened the effect of the explosion. Saudi media all report widely on the incident and accompany their reporting with sometimes grisly photographs.
Riyadh road turns into death trap
At least 22 people were killed yesterday morning after a fuel truck crashed into an overpass cement guardrail on busy Khurais Road in Riyadh. It caught fire before rolling down on the surrounding buildings.
“Early this morning, a fuel tanker crashed into the flyover and exploded, killing 22 people and wounding more than 133, mainly workers from Asian and other countries,” said Khaled Al-Mirghalani, a spokesman of the Ministry of Health.
Al-Mirghalani said the injured workers were admitted to 11 different hospitals in the city. The death toll was also confirmed by Director General of Civil Defense Lt. Gen. Saad bin Abdullah Al-Tuwaijri and by Saudi Television. The death toll was expected to rise.
Al-Tuwaijri warned the people to stay away from the area of the explosion because leaked gas can still cause injuries.
From Saudi Gazette:
The blast that rattled Riyadh
Saeed Al-Khotani and Mishal Al-Otaibi | Saudi Gazette
RIYADH – At least 22 people were killed when a gas tanker crashed into a bridge in Riyadh Thursday, triggering an explosion that brought down an industrial building and torched nearby vehicles, officials and eyewitnesses said.
Prince Sattam Bin Abdul Aziz, Emir of Riyadh, directed authorities concerned to start an investigation into the accident and send him a detailed report as soon as possible.
Health Ministry spokesman Saad Al-Qahtani said 135 people were injured in the disaster. He said they were mostly men and included some foreigners.
The Civil Defense department said the tanker carrying butane gas hit a bridge on Khurais Road-Sheikh Jaber Street intersection in the eastern part of the city at about 7.30 a.m., causing a gas leak and an explosion in a nearby heavy machinery and vehicles warehouse.