Death toll in oil tanker inferno rises to 215
LAHORE (92 News) – The death toll from an oil tanker explosion in the city of Bahawalpur in Punjab has risen to 215 after two more injured succumbed to wounds in Lahore on Friday.
The injured namely Sajjad, 40, was among dozens of injured who were brought to a main government hospital in Lahore after an oil tanker overturned and burst into flames. The doctors are still treating dozens others.
On Sunday last week, a day before Eid, the oil tanker which was headed for Lahore overturned on the national highway at the Ahmedpur Sharqia area of the Bahawalpur district, some 400 km from Lahore, after one of its tyres burst and the driver lost control over it.
Some 151 people lost their lives while collecting spilt fuel as the oil tanker caught fire and exploded. Over 140 others suffered injuries in one of the deadliest accidents in the country.
Video images of the people gathered to collect petrol from the overturned oil tanker emerged showing young and old people filling their bikes with the spilled oil and collecting it in bottles and cans. The leaking fuel was even flowing along the highway in the fields. A number of people were seen sitting near the fields collecting fuel in cans and bottles.
Suddenly, the tanker exploded and within seconds the fire erupted giving no chance to the people present there to leave the place.
According to a preliminary report, the tragedy might have been averted had the motorway police reached there on time and cordoned off the area. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said "illiteracy and poverty" is a reason behind this incident.
More than 40 injured are still battling for their lives in burn centres of Multan and Lahore. The preliminary report also said, "The fire broke out after someone lit a cigarette among the victims and threw its butt."
A video before the incident also emerged on social media showing that a man was smoking a cigarette and he inadvertently threw its butt.
On the other hand, an American Non-governmental Organization had donated skin grafts for the victims of the oil tanker explosion near Bahawalpur. The skin grafts had reached Lahore to provide the urgently-needed treatment to scores of burn patients.
Pakistan’s Consul General in Chicago Faisal Niaz Tirmizi has thanked the NGO on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan for the goodwill gesture.