DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Eleven people including three foreigners were killed in an accident on Thursday at a major sugar factory in Tanzania, police said.

The incident occurred in the pre-dawn hours as technical workers at the privately owned Mtibwa Sugar plant in the east of the country were preparing to restart production after a break, Alex Mkama, police commander of Morogoro Region, told Reuters.

He did not give any details, but Tanzania's Mwananchi newspaper reported that a pipe carrying steam had exploded.

Mkama said police had found the bodies of 11 men at the scene and two injured people were also being treated in hospital in the administrative capital, Dodoma. A Brazilian, a Kenyan and an Indian were among the dead, he said.

Mkama said a team of experts was expected to investigate the cause of the accident and provide further details.

"There were few staff at the factory at the moment of the accident as they were just preparing the factory for the production ... this is very unfortunate," he said.

Mtibwa Sugar is one of the most important sugar factories in the East African nation, producing an average of 70,000 metric tons of sugar annually, according to government data.

Tanzania produced more than 460,000 tons of sugar in the 2022/23 agricultural year amid the growing demand for domestic and industrial use.

(Reporting by Nuzulack Dausen; Editing by George Obulutsa and Frances Kerry)