35 killed in Pakistan vehicle pile-up as smuggled fuel catches fire

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 March, 2014, 5:32am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 March, 2014, 5:32am


A collision involving two trucks and two buses on a coastal highway in southwestern Pakistan yesterday killed 35 people and injured 20 passengers, police said.

The accident took place in Baluchistan province, near Gadani, a coastal town known for its ship-breaking industry some 600 kilometres south of Quetta, the provincial capital.

A bus bound for the port city of Karachi first collided head-on with a truck coming from the opposite direction, said Ahmed Nawaz, the area's police chief.

Nawaz said the second bus and truck then piled up onto the two vehicles and all caught fire, mostly because the buses were also smuggling Iranian petrol and diesel in canisters.

He said 25 people died at the scene while 30 injured victims were taken out of the destroyed and burned buses.

Most of the victims, including women and children, were severely burned and were transported to Karachi.

Ten of the injured died on the way, raising the death toll to 35, said Nawa.

The intercity buses operating across Baluchistan, which borders Iran, often carry canisters of smuggled Iranian fuel.

"It is routine, we are compelled to do this, even though it is illegal and dangerous," said Mohammad Hasan Lehri, who works as a bus driver on the Quetta-Karachi route.

Bad roads, poor driving and a failure to enforce traffic laws and regulations are often blamed for deadly accidents in Pakistan.