Oil tanker flips and explodes, killing over 100 in Pakistan

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 26, 2017

The tanker overturned after the driver lost control on a sharp bend on a road from Karachi to Lahore after the vehicle blew a tie.

Alerted by an announcement over a mosque's loudspeaker that an overturned tanker truck had sprung a leak, scores of villagers raced to the scene with fuel containers Sunday to gather the oil.

"One of the passers-by lit the lighter to start a cigarette and the untoward incident which was a minor [one]... turned into a major blast", Jam Sajjad said.

When the fire subsided, "we saw bodies everywhere, so many were just skeletons".

Flames and large plumes of black smoke could be seen from a distance as firefighters battled the blaze for two hours before it was out.

A soldier stands guard amid burnt out cars and motorcycles at the scene of an oil tanker explosion in Bahawalpur, Pakistan June 25, 2017. Most victims died in the fire.

"What kind of ill-fated day is today?" one woman asked tearfully.

Fire brigade vehicles arrived at the site soon after the of the explosion and rescue operations were under way, the sources told Al Jazeera.

"People living in roadside villages, carrying domestic pots rushed to the scene to collect oil and they also made phone calls to their relatives living in other villages to immediate [ly] come to collect oil", police told Pakistan's state-run APP news.

"People were collecting oil in bottles, cans and household utensils".

Iqbal said most of the patients suffered burns to upward of 80 percent of their bodies.

He says numerous bodies were burned beyond recognition and will have to be identified through DNA testing.

Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah told media the tanker driver had survived the crash and been taken into custody. "They were screaming for help".

Some of the most badly burned were evacuated by army helicopters to Multan, about 60 miles away.

The prime minister's office said the Punjab provincial government had been directed to provide full medical assistance.

China also sent its condolences, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Islamabad, where he was holding talks with Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain.

A Pakistani official says more than 100 people have been killed after an oil tanker overturned and burst into flames.

Officials said numerous victims - including children - were burnt beyond recognition and that DNA tests were being carried out to identify the dead, adding that the number of fatalities was likely to rise.

About 50 people were killed in separate bomb attacks in Pakistan on Friday but there was no suggestion of an attack on Sunday.

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