HYDERABAD: At least nine passengers were reported to have died when a fire broke out in a van after it fell into a ditch near Nooriabad on Sunday.

Jamshoro SSP Naeem Shaikh said four bodies, which were beyond recognition, had been recovered. “Efforts are under way to retrieve other bodies.”

He said nine passengers — four men, three women and two children — managed to jump out of the vehicle soon after the fire engulfed it after its CNG cylinder reportedly exploded.

“Those who were sitting in the rear portion of the vehicle possibly couldn’t get a chance to jump out of the van.”

SSP Shaikh said that the van driver could be among the dead.

The Motorway police reached the place and started taking the injured to Karachi.

The nine injured were taken to hospitals in Karachi because it is nearer than Jamshoro’s Liaquat University Hospital.

Fire-tenders, which had to arrive from Nooriabad, did take some time and by the time they arrived the van had been gutted.

Since fire was massive it could not be extinguished manually. There is no fire-fighting arrangement on the highway.

Published in Dawn February 23rd , 2015

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