NEW DELHI, India- The death toll in the explosion of a fuel tanker climbed to 39 Saturday with the deaths of 14 people burned in the blast, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

The latest victims were among 70 people hospitalized for injuries after the explosion Friday in the village of Tadola, about 790 kilometers from Delhi.

Newspapers said the incident was one of the worst of its kind ever in India.

The news agency, quoting police in the Karnataka capital of Bangalore, said the driver of the truck had pulled to the side of the road after detecting a leak in his cargo tank. A crowd of women and children surrounded the vehicle, fighting to collect leaking gasoline in plastic cups and tin cans.

Police believe someone in the crowd dropped a lighted cigarette, igniting the fuel and sparking the explosion. Seventeen people were killed instantly.

Article extracted from this publication >>  November 8, 1985