Around 11:30 p.m. local time, a truck driver heading from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and largest city, to Naivasha lost control going downhill, officials said.
The truck rammed into more than a dozen vehicles, according to the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, and exploded. Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery said Sunday the tanker carried highly flammable materials.
“This is a national tragedy,” Nkaissery said in a press conference Sunday morning.
Mwachi added that authorities have extended search and rescue operations to the surrounding area to make sure no one wandered off into the nearby bushes during the evacuation.
“This is a serious chemical incident,” said Mwachi Pius Masai, deputy director and spokesman with the National Disaster Management Unit.
Drivers should avoid the road until emergency teams are finished, officials said.
Nkaissery said six people were also injured in the crash, four of whom remain in a Nairobi hospital, including one with serious burns.
As for the dead, Nkaissery noted that the bodies were headed now toward the morgue to be identified.
“We have also lost our own officers,” Nkasissery said, but would not comment on how many until the families have been informed.