KARACHI: As many as 62 passengers were killed in a head-on collision between a bus and an oil tanker travelling on Karachi’s Super Highway on Sunday morning.
The Al Shoaib coach (JB-1158), with over 60 passengers on board, was travelling to Shikarpur from Steel Town in Karachi. It was on the Kathor link road of the Super Highway when it collided with the tanker which was coming from the wrong side just after Saturday midnight.
Speaking to the media outside Chief Minister (CM) House, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said CM Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah has directed the officials to carry out an inquiry into the incident.
Following the early morning collision, the bus burst into flames after its CNG cylinders exploded. Passengers fell unconscious inside the bus due to suffocation.
Volunteers search for bodies inside a burnt out passenger bus after it collided with an oil tanker on Karachi Super Highway. PHOTO: AFP
The bodies were shifted to Jinnah hospital for identification purpose soon after the incident.
Dr Semi Jamali at the hospital, said the bodies of at least six children were stuck to women who may have been their mothers, adding it was impossible to separate the remains.
“They are beyond recognition, they can only be identified by DNA test,” she added.
Nearly half-a-dozen passengers, who were sitting on the roof of the bus, managed to jump to safety. The bus driver, cleaner and the truck driver also managed to save themselves as well.
At least 40 passengers out of the 59, including women and children, were burnt to death. A family of eight were also among those who were killed.
The accident was the second major fatal crash in Sindh in less than three months. In November last year, at least 59 people were killed while 18 others sustained injuries when a passenger bus collided with a goods truck near Khairpur, Sindh. The passenger bus was en route to Karachi from Swat when it collided with the truck on Theri Bypass.
So intense were the flames that the fire brigade had to be called in to extinguish the blaze. However, by the time the fire brigade had put the flames out, the bus and the tanker were completely gutted.
A policeman stands beside wreckage of a burnt out oil taker and passenger bus following an accident on Karachi Super Highway. PHOTO: AFP
Once the fire was extinguished, rescue workers tried to recover the bodies. They had to cut sections of the bus using heavy machinery to reach some of the bodies.
Police officials claimed that fire tenders from Steel Town did not arrive on the scene quickly enough to put the flames out but a fire official from Landhi fire station said a tender was dispatched soon after they received a call. Witnesses, however, said first fire tender reached the site nearly two hours after the incident took place.
Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui said they were investigating the incident, while Rao Muhammad Anwaar, a senior police official, said that police is trying to ascertain if the driver of the oil tanker was solely at fault or whether the bus driver also showed negligence.
Following the incident, the road was shutdown for traffic, causing a traffic jam on the Super Highway.
In general, Pakistan has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly-maintained vehicles and reckless driving.
Mourners react outside a hospital in after their relatives were killed in an accident between a passenger bus and oil tanker on Karachi Super Highway. PHOTO: AFP