The bodies of the 42 victims, who were killed on Sunday in a road accident near Pannu Aqil, were dispatched to their respective destinations in Edhi ambulances. Furthermore, 24 of the 28 injured survivors were also shifted to their respective home towns.
Sukkur Edhi Centre incharge Muhammad Urs Magsi, who was among the first to arrive at the site of the accident at 3:20am, told The Express Tribune that the passenger coach had crashed into the trailer with such force that the driver’s side had been completely crushed. All the passengers sitting on the row of seats behind the driver’s had been badly crushed as a result.
Rescuing the injured and the bodies from the bus was an uphill task and it was not until 10am that the district administration provided steel cutters and other heavy machinery to rescue the victims. The injured and bodies of the deceased were shifted to Pannu Aqil taluka hospital.
According to Magsi, many of the injured succumbed to their injuries due to delays in the rescue operation. “Precious lives could have been saved had they been provided treatment on time.”
Speaking about Salma, the wife of Jawaid Lodhi, who died with her three children, Magsi recalled that her mobile phone started ringing when they were trying to take her out of the wreckage. Magsi attended the call to find her husband on the other end of the line. “I told Lodhi that his wife was no more,” he said sadly. Magsi recalled a similar incident of at least one more of the victims.
According to Magsi, the head of Edhi organisation, Abdul Sattar Edhi, had been regularly contacting them for updates on the relief operations and had instructed them to use any resources they may need for the operation. The rescue workers have been instructed by Edhi to provide free transportation to shift the bodies to their respective destinations.
Over 20 ambulances and 30 volunteers participated in transporting the victims to different hospitals. According to Magsi, the victims hailed from Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Muhammadpur, Jampur and Muzaffargarh. The driver of the ill-fated coach, Shahid Hussain Bugti, was a resident of Tando Masti district in Khairpur. Pannu Aqil police have registered an FIR against the deceased coach driver.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2014.