50 dead in tanker blast explosion in Philippines

The death toll from a tanker explosion in the southern Philippines has risen from 27 to 50 after authorities accounted for the mutilated remains of more victims, officials said Saturday. The tanker truck was negotiating a downhill stretch of the highway in Tigbao town in Zamboanga del Sur province Friday when its brakes failed, causing it to slam into the side of the mountain before overturning and killing its driver, police said. Minutes later, someone shouted that there was a fire under the truck, but before people could flee, a powerful explosion demolished the vehicle and blew off the roof of a nearby minibus, hurling it into the opposite lane, provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Ramon Ochotorena said. Fifty people were killed and at least 65 others were hurt. The injured were brought to different hospitals in the province, about 770 kilometers (480 miles) south of Manila, said provincial social welfare officer Conchita San Diego.