TRAGEDY AT MTIBWA SUGAR FACTORY: 11 specialists dead, 2 injured in boiler explosion

MOROGORO: A DEVASTATING explosion at the Mtibwa Sugar Factory in Turiani, Mvomero District, Morogoro Region has claimed the lives of 11 electrical and mechanical specialists and injured two others.

The incident occurred in the early hours of yesterday, when a newly installed heating system was being tested. Commander Shaban Marugujo of the Morogoro Region Fire and Rescue Service stated that the explosion happened at 1:30 am due to the rupture of a pipe that releases steam into a boiler.

According to him, the explosion occurred after a pipe that releases steam into a boiler exploded.

“The newly fixed system was scheduled to start operations on Friday (today),” he said, noting that one of the survivors Juma Palamba, an electrician at the plant escaped unhurt because he went out of the control room to answer a phone call at the time of the explosion.

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He elaborated on the incident, stating, “The explosion occurred at the junction of the existing system and the new one connected to boiler number four, which transmits steam pressure crucial for generating electricity in the Power House room. The pipe, designed to withstand a pressure of 45 bars, failed under the load, leading to the catastrophic release of steam into the control room where the specialists were working.” Morogoro Regional Police Commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP) Alex Mkama, said the blast resulted in significant casualties and damages.

Among the deceased were three foreign nationals from Kenya, India, and Brazil, while the remaining victims were Tanzanian nationals. SACP Mkama said that two injured were rushed to the Bwagala Mission Hospital in Turiani, Mvomero District.

The three deceased foreign nationals from Kenya, Brazil, and India were transported yesterday afternoon to the factory airstrip for transfer to Dar es Salaam, where their respective embassies will be engaged for burial arrangements.

Mtibwa Sugar Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr Seif Seif announced that the company will cover all funeral costs and announced three days of mourning at the factory.

The two injured individuals were rushed to Bwagala Mission Hospital in Turiani before being transferred to Benjamin Mkapa Hospital for further treatment. Chief Medical Officer at Bwagala, David Ruchwanisa described their condition as critical, with injuries to the face, chest, abdomen, legs, and hands.

Dr Ruchwanisa said the hospital received two injured men, all estimated to be between 28 and 32 years and were given first aid and referred to Benjamini Mkapa hospital for further treatment.

A representative of the factory’s Workers’ Association, Mr Nicolaus Ngowi expressed deep sorrow over the incident.

“The association and the workers have received this news with great sadness.” he said.

Urging all factory workers to cooperate during this difficult time and emphasized the importance of safety measures in the workplace.” He also called for a thorough investigation by relevant institutions to determine the cause of the explosion and to implement preventive measures to avoid future tragedies.

He stressed the need for continuous safety precautions, especially during night shifts and in high-risk areas.

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