Over 200 burnt to death, 100 injured as oil tanker catches fire near Bahawalpur

  • Speedy Oil tanker turned upside down, locals gathered to collect fuel leaking out that burst into flames
  • 140 killed around 100 injured in oil tanker blaze: Rescue sources
  • Incident happened on National Highway near Ahmedpur Sharqia in Bahawalpur
  • Chief Minister Punjab, COAS Gen Bajwa deploy helicopters, order assistance to civil administration
  • DNA test would be needed for identification of deceased: Rescue sources
Pakistan

BAHAWALPUR – At least 200 people were burnt to death while around 100 others were left injured as an oil tanker caught fire after overturning on National Highway in Ahmedpur Sharqia near Bahawalpur this morning.


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According to rescue sources, an oil tanker turned upside down on Pakka Pul apparently due to over speeding after which people from the village Basti Ramzan Joiya area swarmed the site to collect fuel that was spilling from the oil tanker however, unfortunately the fuel burst into flames.

Eyewitnesses said some people in the vicinity were smoking cigarettes, which could have ignited the deadly fire that killed 140 people including women and kids however, it is feared that the death toll could mount further.

Rescue workers shifted the injured to the Bahawalpur Victoria hospital. They said a DNA test would be needed for identification of deceased due to charred bodies.

Health Facilities

Medical Superintendent of Bahawalpur Victoria Hospital Dr. Amir Bukhari while talking to ARY News detailed that the district administration was facilitating the victims.

‘Emergency has been declared in hospitals’ said Dr. Amir.

On the other hand, the Deputy Commissioner of Bahawalpur Rana Muhamamd Saleem Afzal confirmed that there was no burns unit in Bahawalpur and the injured would be shifted to Multan for treatment.

Punjab’s law minister Rana Sana Ullah in a telephonic conversation with Ary News said that burns unit could not be established in each hospital adding that the driver of oil tanker was detained.

Traffic Diversion

Traffic was suspended on the National Highway route following the incident. However, the motorway police set up two diversions, near Noorpur Nauranga and further ahead of Dera Nawaz, as the highway is frequently used for travel between Bahawalpur and Lahore.

The diversions have been created also because the volume of traffic on the route is likely to increase as people would be using the National Highway to travel to their hometowns for Eid-ul-Fitr that is expected to be celebrated in many parts of Pakistan on Monday (tomorrow).

It bears mentioning that Sunday’s catastrophe was the deadliest one in the history of Bahawalpur located about 450 km south of provincial capital Lahore.

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif deploys Helicopter

Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif expressed grief over the accident and sought inquiry report besides directing civil administration to provide adequate health facilities to the injured.

He deployed helicopter of Punjab government to help the victims at the site.

Punjab govt’s spokesperson Malik Ahmed Khan while talking to Geo News expressed that the victims would be shifted to different hospitals across the province.

When asked whether all the hospitals across Punjab could handle the situation, Malik Ahmed Khan replied that he was collecting statistics after which he would be able to respond.

COAS General Bajwa Orders Assistance to Civil Administration

Chief of Army Staff general Qamar Javed Bajwa expresssed grief on loss of lives and ordered provision of assistance to civil administration.

Director General Intra-Services Public Relations took to Twitter and confirmed that Army helicopters were being sent for evacuation of casualties.

The helicopters reached the site and started rescue operation to shift the severely injured to Multan and other cities for proper treatment.

Condolences

The tragedy that happened just a day before Pakistan is set to celebrate Eid ul Fit sent shock waves across the country. Scores of political leaders including defence minister Khawaja Asif and PTI chairman Imran Khan expressed condolences on Microblogging site.