Overturned Pakistan oil tanker leads to the deaths of 148 people as locals rush to collect leaking fuel despite police efforts to cordon off area.
Tragedy has come to the fore after more than 148 persons dying after an overturned oil tanker in Pakistan’s Multan region exploded.
A report via AP told of local villagers rushing to the highway crash scene in the hope of gathering leaking fuel. It was there that an explosion led to scores of deaths, with police saying people were burnt beyond recognition.
Rescue officials continue to survey the area, expecting the death toll to continue rising as dozens now remain in critical condition.
BBC reported the Pakistani tanker flipping over on a national highway on the outskirts of the city of Bahawalpur, about 100 kilometers southwest of Multan. The tanker was driving from the southern port city of Karachi to Lahore, the Punjab provincial capital, when the driver lost control and crashed.
At the time of the accident, the tanker had been carrying the tanker had been carrying 25,000 litres (5,500 gallons) of oil.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 25, 2017
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Major General Asif Chafoor said it ‘appeared that the tanker blew a tyre while rounding a sharp bend in the road.’
Nearby villagers ran toward the overturned tanker with jerry cans to take the leaking fuel.
A loudspeaker atop a local mosque alerted villagers to the leaking fuel, and scores raced to the site with jerry cans, said Rana Mohammad Salim, deputy commissioner of Bahawalpur.
Police tried to cordon off the area but were overwhelmed by the scores of villagers who pushed through to reach the truck.
Rescue services believe a subsequent fire may have been sparked by a cigarette.
‘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 via bbc.
‘People of the area and passers by had started gathering fuel when the tanker exploded, burning everybody on and around the spot,’ provincial government spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan said.
Eyewitnesses said about 30 motorcycles that had carried villagers to the accident site lay in charred ruins nearby. Eight other vehicles were destroyed, they said.
The disaster came on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
The tragedy comes amidst Pakistan roads being notoriously dangerous, with poor vehicle maintenance and reckless driving compounded by the plight of besieged locals willing to put their lives at risk for the hope of gathering leaked fuel ….
— Fakhar Zaman (@RealFakharZaman) June 25, 2017
At least 123 people have been killed and dozens others injured after an oil tanker overturned in central Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/Y4qAADUzFE
— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 25, 2017