11 Jan 2015

Bus hits oil tanker in Pakistan

1:50 pm on 11 January 2015

At least 30 people have been killed after a passenger bus crashed into a speeding oil tanker in southern Pakistan, setting off a fierce blaze.

"The bus carrying some 50 passengers hit the oil tanker, which according to initial reports was coming in a wrong direction," senior police official Rao Muhammad Anwaar told AFP.

"The bus caught fire after the accident, killing at least 30 people."

The bus was en route to the town of Shikarpur from the southern port city of Karachi when the collision occurred along a stretch of dilapidated road.

A few passengers escaped unhurt after they jumped out of the bus windows, another police official Muhammad Jan said, confirming the toll.

"We are trying to ascertain if the driver of the oil tanker was solely at fault or whether the bus driver also showed negligence," Mr Anwaar said.

Pakistan has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly-maintained vehicles and reckless driving.

Television channels showed live footage from the crash site where rescue workers were busily evacuating dead bodies and the injured.

It was the second major fatal crash in Sindh province in less than three months.

At least 57 people, including 18 children, were killed in November last year when a bus collided with a goods truck loaded with coal near Khairpur, 450 kilometres north of Karachi.

The recovery equipment available to Pakistani emergency services is often basic and when crashes happen away from major towns, rescue efforts can take some time, often reducing injured passengers' chances of survival.

The mountainous areas of Kashmir and the north, where drivers career around narrow hairpin bends over deep ravines with scant regard for safety, are particularly prone to accidents, while the condition of roads in the south can also be dangerous.

- AFP

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