Over 150 people die in oil tanker explosion in Pakistan


Over 150 people die in oil tanker explosion in Pakistan

Wasantha Rupasinghe

27 June 2017

About 157 people including men, women and children were killed when an overturned petrol tanker exploded on a road in the Bahawalpur district of the southern Punjab in Pakistan on June 24. At least 20 children were among the dead.

The death toll could rise as more than a hundred injured, about 40 critically, are being treated in hospitals. The hospitals, including the Bahawalpur’s Victoria Hospital in South Punjab and others in Multan, are poorly equipped.

The tanker was carrying 40,000 litres of fuel when it overturned after bursting a tyre, while travelling to Lahore on a major highway. When news spread of petrol spilling from the tanker, hundreds of residents from the nearby village of Ramzanpur rushed to the scene with buckets and other containers. Motorcyclists and other vehicles also stopped to collect fuel, which is costly in Pakistan.

“After about 10 minutes the tanker exploded in a huge fireball and enveloped people collecting petrol. It was not clear how the fire started,” regional police chief Raja Riffat told the media.

Video footage and photos from the site show charred bodies and the wreckage of motorcycles and cars, along with kitchen utensils, pots, cans and buckets that were brought to the site to collect petrol.

Nahid Ahmed, a doctor at the Nishter hospital in Multan told the Dawn that more than 50 severely-burned victims were being treated. Rizwan Naseer, director of Punjab provincial rescue services, explained that many of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition and required DNA testing to identify the dead.

Abdul Malik, a local police officer who was reportedly among the first to arrive on the scene, told Associated Press that he had “never seen…

Read more