An oil tanker crashed and exploded on a road in Pakistan on Sunday, killing 146 people, many of whom were collecting leaking fuel before it ignited, government officials and rescue workers said.
The speeding tanker overturned on a sharp bend on a highway on the outskirts of the city of Bahawalpur. The driver lost control when the vehicle blew a tire, a provincial government spokesman said.
A large crowd of people gathered, many to collect fuel in containers, and the tanker exploded in a huge fireball about 45 minutes later. Rescue workers said that about 80 people had been injured.
“People of the area and passers by had started gathering fuel when it exploded, burning everybody,” provincial government spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan told Reuters. An estimated 20 children were among the dead, he said. The accident happened the day before Pakistan celebrates the Eid al-Fitr festival, when families get together to celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Many bodies were burned beyond recognition and television pictures showed piles of burnt out motorcycles, apparently those of people who were collecting fuel or watching events unfold.
Police had tried to clear the area before the tanker exploded but people ignored them, Khan said, adding that the initial crash had blocked the road, causing a traffic tailback.
REUTERS, 25th JULY, 2017