Fatal crash between bus, oil tanker leaves 62 dead near Karachi

Published January 11, 2015
People look at the wreckage of a bus and tanker after they collided early Sunday, on the outskirts of Karachi. -Reuters Photo
People look at the wreckage of a bus and tanker after they collided early Sunday, on the outskirts of Karachi. -Reuters Photo
— DawnNews screengrab
— DawnNews screengrab
Wreckage of burnt out oil tanker. — DawnNews screengrab
Wreckage of burnt out oil tanker. — DawnNews screengrab

KARACHI: A deadly road accident between an oil tanker and passenger coach late Saturday night left at least 62 dead with scores wounded as both vehicles caught fire, hospital officials said.

“We have received more than 57 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.

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 overloaded bus, carrying more than 60 passengers, was en route to the town of Shikarpur from the southern port city of Karachi when the collision occurred.

“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.

Television channels showed live footage from the fiery crash site where rescue workers were busily evacuating bodies and any injured.

Earlier, senior police official Rao Mohammad 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 Mohammad Jan said.

It was the second major fatal crash in Sindh province in less than three months.

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.

Pakistan has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving. Crashes killing dozens of people are not uncommon.

Close to 9,000 road accidents are reported to the police every year since 2011, killing over 4,500 people on average, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

Read more: Pakistan's traffic accidents - by the numbers

In November last year, 58 people died in a bus crash in Karachi owing to the poor condition of roads.

In April, a bus smashed into a tractor-trailer in a high-speed collision in Sindh, killing 42 people, while in March a horrific crash between two buses and a petrol tanker left 35 dead, with many burned alive when the fuel ignited.

The mountainous areas of Kashmir and the north, where drivers career around narrow hairpin bends over deep ravines with scant regard for safety, are particularly prone to accidents.

Opinion

Casualties of war
17 Sep 2021

Casualties of war

As we ruminate over the consequences of America making a mockery of international law, it is equally important to take an inward
Love of wealth
17 Sep 2021

Love of wealth

Those obsessed with wealth are likely to be involved in corrupt practices.
Pro-rich growth
Updated 17 Sep 2021

Pro-rich growth

An intellectually honest prognosis of our political economy for the working class makes for grim reading.

Editorial

TTP amnesty?
Updated 17 Sep 2021

TTP amnesty?

An amnesty should be for some individuals, not the entire outfit.
17 Sep 2021

Media regulation

THE needless controversy over media regulation may finally be heading for a resolution. In a meeting with ...
17 Sep 2021

Refusing audit

THE continuous resistance put up by several public-sector organisations to submitting their accounts for audit by ...
Aid for Afghans
16 Sep 2021

Aid for Afghans

Humanitarian aid can resume even if the world decides to hold back on formal recognition of the regime for now.
16 Sep 2021

Wheat price

THE government’s decision to raise the wheat release price, or the rate at which provinces issue their grain ...
16 Sep 2021

Keeping the press out

ON Monday, the government yet again displayed its rising contempt for the freedom of press — this time in...