31 dead as bus hits oil tanker
HYDERABAD: Thirty-one people were burned to death and the 11 others aboard critically injured in the early hours of Friday when a passenger coach hit a stationary oil tanker on the National Highway about 70 kilometres from here, setting off an explosion which set both vehicles on fire, police said.
The 42 passengers of the bus, travelling from Shikarpur to Karachi, were trapped when the vehicle’s hydraulic system was disabled by the fire, jamming the only door. The accident, which occurred near New Saeedabad Toll Plaza while it was raining, turned into a tragedy because of one lapse and negligence after another. Survivors said visibility ahead was poor since the windscreen wipers were not working.
The driver, who had stopped at Sakrand to try to repair the wipers, appeared to be dozing. He applied the emergency break as the oil tanker suddenly loomed into view, but could not prevent the collision because the rain had made the road slippery. The driver, the owner of the vehicle, fled after the accident. The conductor is one of the injured. Motorway Police arriving for rescue are reported to have had no fire-fighting gear and the fire-fighters reached about three hours later. The Motorway Police and people dashing to the scene for rescue smashed the glass of the rear window to pull out as many passengers as they could from the inferno. The survivors were all in the rear of the doomed vehicle.
Raja Pahore, resident of Jacobabad, lost six members of his immediate family — his wife Hurmat and children Danish, Aziz, Zain, Dilawar and Aisha — and two nephews, Ghulam Mohammed and Khan Mohammed. ahmed raza