LAHORE: Eid celebrations in Pakistan are now overshadowed by the terrible explosion of a tanker, while the death toll in the devastating fire rises to 157 families in a hurry to hospitals to demand the bodies of their relatives, most Of which were carbonized beyond recognition.
The sullen tragedy struck yesterday Pakistan’s Punjab province just a day before the Eid celebration when a cistern carrying 40,000 liters of gas overturned and exploded when hundreds of villagers had gathered to collect fuel on the freeway in Ahmedpur Sharqia, Of Bahawalpur District, about 400 km from Lahore.
Instead of celebrating the Eid, many relatives of the victims waited for the district hospitals to claim the bodies, most of which were burned beyond recognition and will only be identified by DNA testing.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was in London to celebrate the Eid with his family, interrupted his visit and arrived this morning to visit the victims.
The tanker was heading from Karachi to Lahore when its tire burst and the driver lost control, breaking the truck on the road.
Hundreds of people from a nearby village ignored warnings to stay away from the overturned cistern and went to the place to retrieve the spilled fuel.
Minutes later, the tank truck exploded, encompassing the crowd, as well as dozens of other vehicles in a huge fireball.
It is believed to be a spark from the many cars and motorcycles that have run into the active fuel scene, Dawn reported.
The death toll in the blast has reached 157. A doctor at Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur in southern Punjab said the latest deaths occurred at the Multan hospital where some 50 seriously injured were taken, many suffered burns Heavy.
A high-level rescue official in the area said the death toll could rise as dozens remain critically ill.
The charred wreck motorcycles and cars could be scattered view of the road, with cooking utensils, pots, water coolers, jarrettes and buckets that the victims had taken to collect gasoline.
Firefighters arrived at the scene shortly after fire and rescue operations began.
Firefighters fought the flames for more than two hours to extinguish the fire.
The army chief, General Javed Qamar Bajwa, ordered the army to assist the civilian administration in the rescue efforts.
Army helicopters were used to transport the wounded to the hospital from Bahawalpur Nishtar in Multan.
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The PM’s office said the Punjab province government was ordered to provide medical care.
“Prime Minister Sharif expressed his deep sorrow over the loss of human lives in the unfortunate accident of oil tanker Ahmad Pur Sharqia, Bahawalpur,” the statement said.
Punjab’s chief minister, Shehbaz Sharif, announced Rs 2 million for the death and Rs 1 million for the wounded.
The oil tragedy comes about two years after 62 people, including women and children, were killed in a fire after a trainer collided with a tanker traveling on the wrong side of the road, just outside Karachi.