Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – At least 22 people were killed in a fuel truck explosion in the Saudi capital Thursday.
Reuters reports that a fuel truck crashed into a flyover in Riyadh, which triggered an explosion that brought down an industrial building and set fire to nearby vehicles.
Riyadh’s health ministry spokesman Saad al-Qahtan confirmed that at least 22 people were killed in the blast and that 135 people were injured.
“The truck driver was surprised by a road accident on its route, causing it to crash into one of the pillars of the bridge,” state news agency SPA spokesman Captain Mohamed Hubail Hammadi said.
The incident took place in Riyadh, near the headquarters of the Saudi Arabian National Guard and the Prince Nayef Arab College for Security Sciences, but officials say that the fuel truck explosion was an accident despite the semi-suspicious location.
Civil defense chief Saed al-Tweijri said that the fire was brought under control and blamed the fuel truck’s driver for the accident. The warehouse was leveled by the explosion, which also damaged several neighboring buildings.
Survivor Kushnoo Akhtar, a 55-year-old Pakistani worker, was covered in dirt and was bleeding from multiple cuts on his face and hands. He said of the fuel truck explosion:
“I was inside the building when the blast came. Then boom, the building collapsed. Furniture, chairs and cabinets blasted into the room I was in. My brother is still inside under the rubble. There are lots of people in there.”
The fuel truck explosion occurred at around 7:20 am local time and was on one of Riyadh’s busiest roads. Thankfully, Saudi Arabia is still observing the Eid al-Adha holiday, so traffic was lighter than usual. An hour after the explosion, fires still raged in cars and trucks affected by the blast. The flyover was buckling after the incident.
Television footage of the incident as well as photos posted to social media accounts showed a body lying by the burned-out vehicles and at least two blackened corpses in the remains of a burning truck.
More than 100 Riyadh emergency personnel were still working through the wreckage, searching for victims in the rubble of the warehouse.
Here are a couple of pictures of the Riyadh fuel truck explosion as well as two videos.