LAHORE/SUKKUR: As many as 28 people, including women and children, were killed in two separate road accidents on Tuesday near Jalalpur Pirwala in Punjab and Rohri in Sindh.
A passenger bus collided with an oil tanker near Jalalpur Pirwala interchange on Multan-Sukkur Motorway (M-5) early on Tuesday, killing 20 people and leaving six with burn injuries.
The bus carrying 26 passengers was travelling from Lahore to Karachi.
According to police, the collision took place as the bus driver tried to overtake the oil tanker from the left side. The tanker, carrying thousands of litres of oil, caught fire and exploded.
Six passengers sitting in the front of the bus managed to get out, while the remaining burned to death.
Rescue 1122, the motorway police and officials of the district administration reached the spot and moved the victims to the hospital.
Four people, who were brought to Nishtar Hospital’s burn unit, were said to be in critical condition, while two women suffered minor injuries.
Nishtar Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Amjad Chandio told Dawn that the process to conduct DNA tests for identification of the deceased was underway.
He said the families of 15 victims were approached by the hospital for DNA samples and tests were conducted by Punjab Forensic Science Agency. The reports will be received in three days.
He said the bodies would be handed over to families after completing the identification process.
Multan City Police Officer (CPO) Khurram Shahzad Haider told Dawn that a case has been registered against the bus company with Jalalpur city police station.
He said that teams, with representation from rescue services and the motorway police, would conduct an investigation into the incident.
“The driver was killed while a male hostess was injured,” said CPO Haider, while adding that the police have recorded the statement of two women who suffered minor injuries.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi, while ordering a thorough probe, has sought a report from the Multan commissioner.
He expressed grief over the accident and extended his condolences to the bereaved families.
Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed grief and prayed for the deceased and their families.
“I am saddened by the loss of 20 precious lives in the accident. My prayers are with the bereaved families,” he tweeted.
Eight killed near Rohri
In another tragedy, a passenger coach plunged into a ditch near Rohri on National Highway N-5, killing eight passengers including four women and two children.
According to the police, the bus was on its way from Swat to Karachi when it met with the accident in which 32 people got injured as well.
The driver lost control of an over speeding bus as he tried to take an ‘abrupt turn’, said the police.
Rescue officials moved the dead bodies and injured to Rohri Taluka Hospital and Sukkur Civil Hospital where emergency was declared, police officials said.
According to the officials, the police have, so far, identified a 12-year-old boy and a 45-year-old male, while the identity of four women and two men were not known immediately.
According to the hospital administration, arrangements were being made to move the dead bodies to their native villages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Swat and Manhsera cities.
Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2022