Death toll reaches 59 in horrific bus-tanker collision near Karachi
KARACHI, Jan 11 (INP) At least 59 people including women and children were killed when their bus crashed into an oil tanker, igniting a fierce blaze at National Highway early Sunday, officials said.
Authorities fear the death toll could rise, with most of the bodies burnt beyond recognition. Reports said the oil tanker was traveling in the wrong direction along the dilapidated stretch of road, police said. In the accident, eight people from one family also lost their lives.
“We have received more than 57 dead bodies but the death toll may rise as most of them are completely burnt and stuck to each other,” Doctor Semi Jamali at Karachi’s Jinnah hospital said.
Jamali said the bodies of at least six children were stuck to women who may have been their mothers, adding it was impossible to separate the remains.
“They are beyond recognition, they can only be identified by DNA test,” she said.
The overloaded bus, carrying more than 60 passengers, was en route to the town of Shikarpur from Karachi when the collision occurred.
Television channels showed live footage from the fiery crash site where rescue workers were busily evacuating dead bodies and any injured.
Earlier, senior police official Rao Muhammad Anwaar said the bus “hit the oil tanker, which according to initial reports was coming in the wrong direction” and caught fire.
Another senior police official, Aamir Shiekh said an investigation has been launched but it appeared the poor condition of the single track road also contributed to the cause of the accident.
“We are trying to ascertain if the driver of the oil tanker was solely at fault or whether the bus driver also showed negligence,” Anwaar said.
A few passengers escaped unhurt after they jumped out of the bus windows, police official Muhammad Jan said.
Gul Hassan, a resident of Karachi, said he lost nine relatives including the 80-year-old head of the family and a two-year-old child.
The dead also included two women and another child, Hassan said.
“They were travelling in the same bus. I cannot recognise any of them, all the bodies are completely burnt,” he said.
“The bus and all passengers were so badly burnt that we have to carry out DNA tests for identification,” Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon told reporters.
According to Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui, the crash was the result of negligence on the part of the oil tanker driver. Due to the presence of petrol, Siddiqui said the flames were difficult to control.
One survivor said that the passenger bus was overcrowded, a common practice amongst local public transport operators in the absence of safety regulations.
Sindh Governor Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan took notice of the overnight accident on National Highway and directed the inquiry into the mishap.
Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain expressed condolence to the bereaved families and directed the workers and volunteers to partake in the rescue operation.
Meanwhile, Former President Asif Ali Zardari today directed Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to order a high-level inquiry into National Highway accident. The deadly accident took place on National Highway Link Road close to Steel Town late Sunday night.According to sources, Zardari expressed grief over loss of human lives in the fatal crash. Later, the Sindh government announced that it would provide Rs200, 000 each as compensation for the families of victims. ) President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif have expressed grief over the tragic collision between a passenger bus and oil tanker in Karachi.
They deplored the loss of lives and extended condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones.
The Prime Minister directed for provision of best medical facilities to the injured and asked the authorities concerned to take steps to improve road safety. Agencies