Explosion in Gujrat school van kills teacher, 17 children

Published: May 25, 2013

Men stand around a burnt-out school bus, after a gas cylinder on it exploded killing seventeen children, on the outskirts of Gujrat. PHOTO: REUTERS

GUJRAT: Seventeen children and a teacher were killed when their school bus caught fire in central Pakistan on Saturday, police said.

Seven other children were injured in the blaze which destroyed the vehicle.

The van was carrying 24 children to a private school in Gujarat, about 112 kilometres (70 miles) north of the eastern city on Lahore, when it caught fire, local police chief Dar Ali Khattak told AFP.

“The fire erupted in the vehicle when the children were only a few kilometres from their school,” he said.

The blaze was apparently caused by a spark when the driver of the dual-fuel van switched from gas to petrol, he said, adding that the fuel gas cylinder was intact.

The children were aged between five and 15 years, he said, adding that a female teacher also died.

The government announced Rs0.5 million as compensation for those killed and Rs75,000 for the injured.

The driver, who fled and left the van in flames, has been arrested in the nearby city of Kharian, police official Abid Khan said.

Initial information said the driver had also kept petrol in a plastic bottle, as reserve fuel for emergency use, which may have contributed in intensifying the fire, he added.

The dead included three children of police constable Mohammad Riaz, and the dead teacher was their aunt, residents said, adding that thousands of people attended their funeral.

“We told the driver there was a very bad smell of gas leakage. But he did not listen and soon after the fire erupted,” a 10-year boy who survived the blaze told Geo News.

Five of the injured children were in serious condition, hospital officials said.

Later, when the driver was presented before the media, he said that he did not own the vehicle, instead he worked on a monthly salary of Rs6,000. Express News quoted the driver as saying that none of the children complained to him about petrol leaking, and that he himself managed to pull two children to safety.

The driver added that the fire started when he converted from CNG fuel intake to petrol fuel intake.

Vehicles mostly run on both petrol and natural gas.

Reader Comments (61)

  • KUMAR
    May 25, 2013 - 10:21AM

    Gas cylinders should not be allowed in Passenger bus……………….RIP

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  • Lala Gee
    May 25, 2013 - 10:29AM

    My heart never felt so grieved. The death of so many innocents at once is causing pangs of pains in my heart. The real culprits are those government officials who did not do their duty and let such time bombs to carry school children. They must be prosecuted as accomplice to murder of these innocent children.

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  • May 25, 2013 - 10:31AM

    really very sad news to hear .

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  • Gulam Rasool "Kuldeep sharma"
    May 25, 2013 - 10:48AM

    Poor kids, Very sad news

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  • R Singh
    May 25, 2013 - 10:50AM

    R.I.P
    Condolences from India

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  • bilal
    May 25, 2013 - 10:52AM

    another government failure. I feel sad for the kids and teachers RIP

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  • Food for thought
    May 25, 2013 - 11:01AM

    This is absolutely tragic news. One can only imagine the plight of the parents on hearing the loss of their loved ones. It really does bring tears to my eyes. Rest in Peace !!

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  • Water Bottle
    May 25, 2013 - 11:01AM

    How horrible! It is very saddening.Recommend

  • Amir
    May 25, 2013 - 11:26AM

    There are no safety regulations as to how to install cylinders. None of our govt agencies who should be curtailing this knows what to do, or does not do it to grease their own palms.

    Secondly we are a Jugaroo society who wants to rig any piece of machinery to suit our personal need, to maximize profits. So safety is well below on the totem pole.

    Sad indeed!!! But this will continue to happen. No end in sight.

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  • Talib Haider
    May 25, 2013 - 11:31AM

    This has to stop! Why are these sub-standard cylinders available in the first place? The transport company should be prosecuted along with responsible government officials.

    The last time our government took action, a driver set himself on fire. A lot of people displayed regret on the indifference of our government and shared sympathies with the innocent driver. Hence, the government agreed to trade lives of innocent civilians and children.

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  • Waqas
    May 25, 2013 - 11:51AM

    A very sad incident….. May their souls rest in heaven

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  • May 25, 2013 - 11:54AM

    deeply saddened to hear this bad news. my heartfelt condolences for the families of the children. Those who live no more still echo within our thoughts and words.

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  • Ali Hamza
    May 25, 2013 - 12:14PM

    sucks..

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  • Shahzad
    May 25, 2013 - 12:15PM

    The TV news report at Epxress news mentioned the District Police Officer stating that the cylinder is intact and it has not exploded. The news item is quite misleading and Expressnews should report facts .

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  • Kaleem
    May 25, 2013 - 12:19PM

    Apart from bad fate etc, it is failure of processes. Nothing happens without reason.

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  • RQ
    May 25, 2013 - 12:19PM

    just came home from gujrat after some work. I passed by some relatives of victims… travelling from that route was terrible decision of mine :(

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  • Sharim
    May 25, 2013 - 12:29PM

    Its a tragedy to see the real culprit(the driver) escaping from the scene leaving behind 17 families shattered in the pain of their loved ones. We cannot really rectify the system until we come out of our own ignorance.
    Even today we will just mourn the death of these 17 children for a day or two and post some sympathy messages and forget everything. I hope we get to see a day when i & every citizen work with the intention of betterment of the society & our beloved country, Pakistan…

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  • Rustam
    May 25, 2013 - 12:37PM

    If it would be a civilized country would be mourned as a national tragedy of the highest order. But in our beloved country children’s life are not that precious anyway. Given the mentality of most of the drivers in the country, CNG should be banned altogether. One, there are substandard kits available. Second even if you buy a quality kit then you need to have proper maintenance and check on its condition which most of the drivers easily ignore. Making it a time bomb as occurred in this incident.

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  • Umair Khalid
    May 25, 2013 - 12:48PM

    Deeply saddened to hear about today’s tragic incident in Gujrat. Prayers for those innocent children.Strength to their families.

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  • Khan
    May 25, 2013 - 12:54PM

    RIP
    The driver need not flee. This culture needs to stop. Its not his fault

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  • Saleem
    May 25, 2013 - 1:13PM

    R.I.P
    (Kids)future of Pakistan lost their lives in a terrible accident.

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  • Sadi
    May 25, 2013 - 1:51PM

    Going to school in crisp uniforms and coming home a burnt corpse. Heart crushingly sad. A thousand prayers for their parents and a thousand more for the safety of the children who have to use such buses. May prayers protect them where the useless govt cant.

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  • Aysha
    May 25, 2013 - 1:57PM

    All because of Imran Khan encouraging TTP talks

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  • waseem sarwar
    May 25, 2013 - 2:21PM

    I was passing from Gujrat to Mandi Bahauddin when i saw that van and it looked horrible. RIP kids and teachers.

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  • Rehan
    May 25, 2013 - 2:25PM

    Every body should pray to ALLAH to forgive our sins , as now our childrens are suffering from our wrong doings.

    died because of misalse
    died because of fire in hospital
    died becuase of rat in hospital
    died becuase of van plungs into river
    died becuase of van caught fire .
    ………………..

    ALLAH please forgive us.

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  • naive
    May 25, 2013 - 2:41PM

    This is worse than a terrorist attack. Every one in any way responsible for this should be given the toughest punishment possible.

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  • waqas
    May 25, 2013 - 3:09PM

    very unfortunate incident . such adhoc arrangements for CNG should be forbidden keeping in view safety. only authorized workshop should be allowed to do this .

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  • Saqib
    May 25, 2013 - 3:09PM

    No words to condemn negligence. tears :’(

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  • Salman Siddiqui
    May 25, 2013 - 3:16PM

    Government should strictly ban the use of CNG in public transport as neither the government has fool-prove regulatory body, nor do such transporters follow rules. Therefore, I vote to discontinue CNG in Pakistan.

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  • Rizwan
    May 25, 2013 - 3:25PM

    No surprise. Not shocked at all. How many smaller incidents go unreported. Thousands die each year because of incompetence. Will Pakistanis take to the streets for improved safety standards ? In the West there will there will be Parliamentary inquires and laws will be changed. Innocents have to die because we concentrate our energies on being pure.

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  • SHM
    May 25, 2013 - 3:53PM

    Very very sad news, my heart is crying for these children who had yet to see the joys and wonders of life. My heartfelt condolences to the unfortunate parents for losing their apples of eyes. I am just thinking of these children who were happy and going home when all of a sudden the blast killed them. May Allah Bless them with Jannatul Firdous.

    Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return

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  • Ahmed
    May 25, 2013 - 4:26PM

    Very sad.. These cylinders should be properly looked after. It’s not too late for the government to regulate the maintenance of these cylinders or to put an end to the use of cylinders in public transport all together

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  • What More
    May 25, 2013 - 4:34PM

    everday one has same stories coming from pakistan…i dont knw how to respond anymore…i feel helpless///

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  • FAZ
    May 25, 2013 - 5:28PM

    The fact is that the government has banned imports of CNG kits and cylinders. But the use of expired cylinders that shouldnt be used now continues. No one bothers to have them checked every 5 years of use. There is no law on this and even if there would be then who would be there to enforce it? Our traffic police?? No further comments for them..
    Secondly some drivers and transporters think they are engineers and use oxygen cylinders in place of a proper CNG cylinder!! Insane country, insane people!!
    And one more stupidity to mention. People love to fill their cylinders from pumps with “higher pressures”. 2000bars is a standard for cng cylinders whereas I have seen my cylinder’s gauge showing 2200bars on every refill! Where on earth are we living really..

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  • GIndian
    May 25, 2013 - 6:01PM

    Very sad.

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  • Tamoor Rindh
    May 25, 2013 - 6:09PM

    No words to condemn this Criminal
    negligence. tears :

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  • Fawad
    May 25, 2013 - 6:56PM

    My appeal to govt. to ban this CNG cylinders and LPG gas tanks. They’re the main reason of deaths. If need to move on and learn from these bad experiences.

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  • ivehadit
    May 25, 2013 - 7:19PM

    What does it say about us that this ranks as the 4 or 5th headline in a prominent newspaper. Dawn puts it as a minor headline. Even the Guardian puts it higher.

    Frankly, it’s because these kids are poor and life is cheap for the poor in Pakistan.

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  • Farhan
    May 25, 2013 - 7:23PM

    It’s time to stop using CNG cylinders in vehicles period. We need the gas going to better uses like power generation and industry use – more pressing matters. How many cylinders need to explode before the morons in the higher-ups wake up?

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  • JD
    May 25, 2013 - 7:47PM

    many people will disagree with me… But CNG and LPG should be banned in Pakistan

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  • Qasim
    May 25, 2013 - 8:57PM

    Rip

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  • Gujratia from USA
    May 25, 2013 - 9:01PM

    My Heart is broken for my fellow Gujratis’
    May God bless the souls of innocent children..Recommend

  • Sami
    May 26, 2013 - 12:34AM

    This would not have happened if they had used a water kit rather than LPG kit. Not funding that technology has delayed its implementation.

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  • aka
    May 26, 2013 - 12:38AM

    i am blaming the goverment of the state,100%

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  • ASQ
    May 26, 2013 - 12:52AM

    banning the use of CNG or LPG isn’t the solution it’s our overall mentality of bypassing safety rules and not caring by saying bus g Allah ki marzi!!!!

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  • BEP
    May 26, 2013 - 1:12AM

    Feeling sad. RIP. The worst thing possible in the life is to see ones offspring die. Dont have any words to express the condolence message to the parents.

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  • Pakistani Ostrich
    May 26, 2013 - 1:54AM

    Very tragic incident. First the burgers were angry that pti lost, now it seems like talibans/right wings are angry that their representative IK lost in punjab.

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  • Final Solution
    May 26, 2013 - 3:12AM

    @Rehan:
    Don’t blame ALLAH for the mistakes and carefree attitude of Pakistanis towards hazards.

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  • Ash Man
    May 26, 2013 - 3:47AM

    Very sad news. Regulations for regular testing and certifications of CNG converted vehicles is a must!

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  • Sad
    May 26, 2013 - 5:05AM

    May God Rest their souls in peace. Aameen.

    Very tragic news.

    Gas cylinder is placed just beneath the first row and seems it made it impossible to rescue back seaters. Please avoid such horrific things.

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  • Muhammad Rizwan Ali
    May 26, 2013 - 5:57AM

    The owner of Van,Driver, Govt official,who allow fitness certificate
    All responsible,they should be punished, Death centance only
    otherwise,this will be happening,again and again

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  • gp65
    May 26, 2013 - 6:55AM

    HEartbreaking. COndolences to the family of the bereaved.

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  • mahakaalchakra
    May 26, 2013 - 7:54AM

    Very sad indeed. God give strength to the parents and other near and dear ones.

    Was this van meant for 24 children (5 to 15 year age), one female teacher and a driver total 26 persons assuming there was no helper?

    Are there any rules and regulations for limiting the capacity?

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  • Amir
    May 26, 2013 - 9:47AM

    We will blame the driver. We will blame the owner. Where does the fault lies?

    With the authority who gave fitness test? Look at the conditions of buses and vans in Karachi. They have been plying on the road for ages. And it is the authority who after getting the grease palmed give them passing marks.

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  • May 26, 2013 - 10:05AM

    so sad.i think these thing will happen when we will have these types of governments.we dont have energy.lpg gas is like a rain drop without these do we have any alternative?Recommend

  • SRB
    May 26, 2013 - 10:37AM

    Tears in Eyes. R.I.P poor and innocent children .:( :(

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  • Dr Imran Ahmed
    May 26, 2013 - 8:33PM

    A very very sad loss of young lives. Two points about comments above. Well to do commentators want CNG cylinders not just regulated but banned – even though this was a gasoline fire and not an exploding cylinder – why not demand a ban on petrol? Another expression of class hatred?
    Second, the driver ran away without alerting the fire brigade or apparently even opening the van doors. This is reprehensible.

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  • A RAZZAQ
    May 26, 2013 - 8:56PM

    The gas cylinders in the van and buses must be strictily prohibited to *say no* to such incidents in future. May Allah almighty rest their souls in peace aameen.

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  • Khan
    May 27, 2013 - 10:25AM

    This is purely negligence of local adminstrative authority, should be trialled.

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  • maha
    May 30, 2013 - 10:05AM

    bass humanity khatam hai jinke pyare jate hain wohi jaante hain KYA khoya aur KYA paaya I m really very sad I have no words roz koi na koi hadsah kuch na kuch speechless

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  • May 30, 2013 - 12:37PM

    *I Think We Should make any new law for publik school vans to reduse incidents in pakistan because that is not soloution that every one criyng sad sad but no one doing some thin
    *

    we should change our mind why we are not thinking actual situation just say sad sad

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