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Deadly tanker blast in Riyadh: 22 dead

Deadly tanker blast in Riyadh: 22 dead

Riyadh: At least 22 people were killed when a fuel truck crashed into a flyover in the Saudi capital Riyadh, triggering an explosion that caused the collapse of an industrial building, according to local media.

The Riyadh Civil Defence spokesman confirmed there were deaths from, what he called a traffic accident, involving a gas tanker that hit a bridge, causing a gas leak and an explosion in a nearby heavy machinery and vehicles warehouse.

"The truck driver was surprised by a road accident on its route, causing it to crash into one of the pillars of the bridge," spokesman Captain Mohamed Hubail Hammadi said.

He said the incident resulted in a "number of deaths and injuries", without giving specific details.

Saudi Arabia's Al Ekhbariya television put the death toll at 22 and at least 111 wounded.

The building, several storeys high, was almost levelled by the blast, with only one corner left standing.

Several adjacent buildings were damaged and nearby vehicles, including a minibus on the flyover, caught fire, witnesses said.

Television footage and pictures posted on social media showed a body lying by burnt-out vehicles and at least two charred bodies seated in a car.

More than 100 emergency personnel were combing the wreckage on the flyover and searching for victims in the rubble of the building, which housed the operations of Zahid Tractor, a distributor of heavy machinery.

"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," survivor Kushnoo Akhtara said.

"My brother is still inside under the rubble. There are lots of people in there."

Saudi Arabia is still on holiday after the Muslim Eid al-Adha feast, which began last Friday.

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