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Balochistan govt to distribute Rs10 million among families of Bela bus inferno victims

Updated January 22, 2019

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Bodies are being transported to Pangur from a morgue in Karachi.— Photo by author
Bodies are being transported to Pangur from a morgue in Karachi.— Photo by author

The Balochistan government on Tuesday announced Rs10 million in compensation for the families of the victims of the Bela bus accident that left at least 27 people dead and several others injured a day earlier.

Provincial minister Mir Asadullah Baloch announced that Rs10m will be distributed among the families of those killed in the tragedy and another Rs5m will be given to those injured in the accident.

He revealed that 24 bodies will be buried in Panjgur after collective funeral prayers. "The arrangements are being finalised," he told journalists in Hub area.

The minister vowed that the government will hold a thorough probe into the tragedy.

Bela SSP Agha Ramzan Ali told DawnNewsTV that seven of the victims had been identified by their relatives and the bodies had also been handed over to the heirs. The bodies are being shifted to Panjgur for final rituals.

Also on Tuesday, the Balochistan home department constituted an inquiry committee to investigate the deadly incident.

According to a notification, the five-member committee will determine the cause of the accident, assign responsibility and recommend measures to avoid such incidents in the future. The panel, chaired by the commissioner of the Kalat division, will submit its report within seven days.

What happened to the bus

The bus belonging to Jehanzeb Coach Service had left Karachi in the evening on Monday and met with the accident a few hours later near Lasbela Cross, around three kilometres from Bela City.

The ill-fated bus had collided with a truck near Lasbela and caught fire. The fire destroyed both the vehicles. The bodies had been shifted from the Civil Hospital Bela to Edhi morgue in the Sohrab Goth area of Karachi.

"After the collision with the truck, the fuel tank of the coach caught fire and within no time, it destroyed the coach leaving only a few seconds for the passengers trapped inside to come out,” Shabbir Mengal, deputy commissioner of Lasbela, had told Dawn.

“In all, 33 passengers were on board along with four members of the bus staff, including the driver,” official sources had said.

According to the sources, the truck was carrying Iranian smuggled oil which caused a huge fire after the collision. They said the bus had only one door that made it difficult for the passengers to come out. The fire was brought under control after three hours with the help of fire tenders from Hub and Uthal as there was only one fire brigade tender available in Bela.

Case registered

Late on Monday evening, a case was registered against the driver and owner of the bus.

According to the first information report (FIR) of the incident, a copy of which is available with DawnNewsTV, Mohammad Younus, the bus owner, and the yet-to-be-identified driver were responsible for the deadly accident.

Police registered the case under charges of murder and criminal negligence. The FIR said that the bus went out of control and collided with a truck after one of its tyres burst. It said the bus was in a dilapidated condition, its tyres were weak and it was overloaded at the time of the accident.

The police report stated that the driver of the truck also burned to death. Initially, 25 bodies were recovered from the bus and one from the truck, whereas one of the injured succumbed to his burn injuries.