The Accident Left A Trail of Destruction
An oil tanker truck explosion has left at least 135 people dead and scores injured in eastern Pakistan.
Media reports say, the truck overturned when the driver lost control in the city of Bahawalpur in Punjab province. Large numbers of people gathered to collect leaked oil from the containers when the tanker exploded into a huge fireball.
“People of the area and passersby had started gathering fuel when the tanker exploded, burning everybody on and around the spot,” provincial government spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan told Reuters.
The aftermath left a trail of massive destruction. Many bodies were burned beyond recognition. Around 130 people were wounded by the incident. Most of them sustained severe burns.
In addition, an estimated 20 children were among the dead. The driver survived the accident and was taken into police custody for investigation.
State of Emergency
With the extent of casualties, the local government declared a state of emergency in the city.
Roads were closed as the medical team rushed to help the victims. Firefighters fought the flames for over two hours before extinguishing the fire. Most of the victims with serious burns were airlifted to hospitals in the nearby city of Multan.
The devastating accident took place the day before Pakistan celebrates the Eid al-Fitr festival, an end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Heavy Loss of Life
Shortly after the accident, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif “expressed deep grief over the heavy loss of life.”
“The Prime Minister has directed provincial government to provide full medical assistance to the injured with burns,” a statement from his office said. “The Prime Minister has expressed sympathies with the bereaved families and prayed for the departed souls.”
Sharif, who was in Britain for Eid holiday, decided to cut short his trip and return.
Pakistan is known for a number of fatal traffic accidents due to poor condition of roads and reckless driving.