NAROWAL: All the 13 passengers of a van were burnt alive and 17 others seriously injured when the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders installed in it sparked a fire after collision with a bus because of heavy fog on the New Lahore Road near Miranshah, Narang Mandi.
According to Rescue 1122 sources, a Lahore-bound bus collided with a van coming from Lahore to Narowal near Narang Mandi.
They said after the collision, the LPG cylinders fitted in the van exploded and the resulting fire engulfed the vehicle.
Witnesses said the blaze was so sudden and intense that none of the passengers could get out of the van and all the 13 of them were burnt alive. The bodies had burnt beyond identification, he added.
The bus also caught fire following the collision, but the passengers jumped out of the vehicle after smashing its windows. As a result, 17 of them suffered injuries.
Fire caused by LPG cylinders in van blamed for tragedy near Narang Mandi
An eyewitness, Munir Malik, said the van passengers kept crying for help, but they could not be rescued by locals because of the massive blaze enveloping the vehicle.
On being informed of the incident, Rescue 1122 teams from Narang Mandi and Muridke rushed to the spot and extinguished the fire.
The rescuers retrieved bodies from the van and shifted them to the Muridke Tehsil Headquarters Hospital. The injured passengers were shifted to Narang Mandi Rural Health Centre and Muridke Tehsil Headquarters Hospital where they were provided treatment.
As per THQ hospital staff, of the injured passengers, 12 belonged to Narowal.
They included Raheela Bibi, Siddique, Afzal, Maryam Bibi, Fatima Bibi, Hadia BiBi, Khadija Bibi, Manzoor, Rihana Bibi, Hamid Ali and Sohail. Three of them — Azeem, Nawaz and Abida Bibi — are from Lahore while two others, Najma Bibi and Allah Bakhsh, belong to Islamabad.
Some of the injured were later referred to the Mayo Hospital, Lahore, by the THQ Hospital doctors given their serious condition.
The process to identify the dead passengers was underway, but as per sources none of them could be identified so far.
Anjuman Shehrian Narowal President Sheikh Syare Ali blamed the traffic police and the district administration for the heavy loss of life in the accident for failing to remove LPG cylinders from public transport.
He said that last year a gas cylinder had exploded following a similar incident on Narowal-Zafarwal Road, resulting in the death of 11 passengers who were burnt alive, but no action was taken for removal of LPG cylinders from vans and buses.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2020