Oil tanker inferno kills over 150

Scenes after the explosion - © Pakistan EPA/Faisal Kareem

Over 150 people died after a lorry transporting oil burst into flames in Bahawalpur district, media channels reported on Sunday.

The location of the incident – © BBC

More than 80 were reported injured and taken to different hospitals and clinics for treatment. Most of them were in critical condition according to Rescue 1122 Director General Dr. Rizwan Naseer.

Most of the hospitalized got 70% burn injuries.

More deaths are feared.

Aftermath and Rescue Operation

The injured could not be treated in the medical clinics nearby as they lack the essential facilities to treat patients with critical burn injuries so as per reports, the patients are being shifted to Sheikh Zayed Medical Hospital where an emergency has been called out.

The Punjab Government spokesperson Malik Ahmed Khan said that those who could not be accommodated in Multan and Bahawalpur would be shifted to other major facilities.

He further added that Chief Minister’s helicopters were dispatched to the scene to help transport the injured.

The Pakistan Army sent their helicopters for the rescue operation and a dozen army personals were further sent to the crash location to help the injured.

The traffic was suspended on the National Highway route route. The motorway police later set up two diversions.

Scenes after the explosion – © Pakistan EPA/Faisal Kareem

What actually happened

Punjab Police told Pakistani government news agency APP that the tanker had been carrying 25 000 liters of oil and had been travelling from Karachi to Lahore.

It slipped off a road and overturned in the Kachi Pul area about 8km from Ahmedpur East, in Punjab’s Bahawalpur district.

As soon as the locals found out about the oil tanker, they rushed to the scene and were seen collecting leaking oil in jerry cans to take the leaking fuel, Punjab police reported.

“[The people collecting oil] also made phone calls to their relatives living in other villages to immediately come to collect oil,” the sources said.

The traffic police units present at the scene tried to keep the locals away but were unsuccessful in doing so.

“Suddenly, [a] huge fire erupted in the oil tanker which engulfed all people standing around the vehicle,” the police sources added.