More than 150 die when overturned fuel truck explodes in Pakistan

More than 150 die when overturned fuel truck explodes in Pakistan”

An oil tanker caught fire and exploded after overturning on a road in eastern Pakistan Sunday, killing at least 140 people and seriously injuring at least 50 more after they rushed toward the vehicle in an effort to collect fuel as it gushed from the tanker.

The oil tanker coming from Karachi and headed to Lahore overturned early this morning on the national highway at the Ahmedpur Sharqia area of the Bahawalpur district, some 400 km from Lahore, after a tyre burst and the driver lost control.

"Residents of the nearby Ramzanpur Joya village rushed to the site with buckets, and a large number of people on motorcycles also started collecting the spilling fuel", regional police chief Raja Riffat told a news conference.

The fire was sparked after an oil tanker overturned in Punjab's Bahawalpur city.

Footage from the scene showed dozens of bodies burnt beyond recognition, as well as cars and motorbikes which were destroyed in the blaze.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire to erupt.

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The Prime Minister's office said the Punjab provincial government had been directed to provide full medical assistance. "One body has been recovered and 11others are still missing", Ahmed said."After the spill, people began calling relatives to gather oil; some from nearby villages". Numerous bodies at the scene were burned beyond recognition.

"I could hear people screaming but I couldn't get to them", he said.

At least 62 people including women and children were killed in southern Pakistan in 2015 when their bus collided with an oil tanker.

Army helicopters have been deployed to take the injured to hospital, according to Major General Asif Ghafoor, the official spokesperson of Pakistan's armed forces. The driver of the tanker survived and had been taken into police custody, he said. "The fire moved so fast", he said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was in London on a private visit, cut short his stay and was returning to Pakistan, officials said. As many as 117 were injured, Geo TV said on Sunday, citing local authorities.

"We kept on telling people to leave the crash site, but people wouldn't listen and more kept coming", said Muhammad Rizwan, a police official. Army helicopters helped evacuate the wounded.

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