A fuel tanker exploded into a deadly fireball in Kenya, killing at least 30 people late on Saturday (10 December). The blaze is thought to have started after the tanker, which was travelling to Uganda, lost control and crashed into another vehicle.

The fireball, caused by the crash, apparently engulfed other vehicles on the road near the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, and others were feared dead after gathering at the scene of the crash. According to reports, among the victims were 14 passengers of a matatu minibus – a type of shared taxi. Others thought to have died in the accident included 11 officers from the state's paramilitary police force.

Mwachi Pius Masai, the deputy director and communications officer for the National Disaster Management Unit said: "At 5:00 am the death toll was 33 but the search is still on.

"This is a serious chemical incident. Police and other rescuers are still on the scene ... clearing debris."

Eyewitness Peter Kimani said: "The lorry was in high speed and lost control after hitting speed bumps and ended up ramming into oncoming cars."

Thirty-three people were said to have been killed, but Masai said the death toll could rise. Other reports claim as many as 42 have already died.

Police said at least 10 people were injured. Eleven vehicles had been scorched according to Masai. The country was also in the midst of a nationwide doctors strike, at the time of the blaze.

The Mail Online quotes a police officer at the scene as saying: "It's a terrible incident, people are burnt, some in their cars and others as they tried to escape."

Meanwhile, a local shopkeeper apparently described the accident as: "Like a horror movie."

Jane Muthoni, said: "It will haunt me for a long time, imagining that huge fire where people were burning, and now I have seen some seated in their vehicles dead."

Fireball in Kenya
Charred vehicles involved in oil tanker explosion are seen in Karai, NaivashaGetty Images