Haiti truck blast death toll rises to 75 as doctors scramble to treat wounded

CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti: The death toll from a fuel truck explosion in Haiti rose to 75 on Wednesday (Dec 15) as doctors scrambled to treat the wounded from an incident that officials say was made more deadly by residents approaching the vehicle in a desperate search for fuel.

Rescue workers recovered 61 bodies at the site of the accident, which took place late on Monday in Haiti’s second-largest city of Cap-Haitien, while a director of the city’s main hospital said that a further 14 people had died while being treated for wounds.

“We need all the help we can get. The hospital is not used to having so many injured,” said Jean Gracia Coq, medical director at the Justinien University Hospital.

“The shortages have made people let down their guard and not take the precautions that should be taken with regards to fuel.”

Monday night’s major blast charred the facades of several homes and shops nearby, as well as destroying cars and motorcycles on the street.

A witness told Reuters that the fuel truck had flipped over after its driver tried to avoid hitting a motorcycle.

Street vendor Marie-Ange Celicourt took a friend to the hospital who was wounded in the explosion.

“She came to me screaming: ‘I’m burnt! I’m burnt!'” said Celicourt, 39, while waiting at the hospital for her friend, who she identified only as Geraldine.

“Her case is serious. The doctor told me that one of her lungs is burnt, but we haven’t told her.”

The US embassy in Haiti in a statement expressed condolences to the injured and to the families of those who died.

Rescue workers have completed the search of the area, said Frandy Jean, who heads Haiti’s fire brigade for the northern region.

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