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Pakistan fuel tanker truck explosion kills at least 140

Nishtar Hospital, which is treating most of the wounded, mentioned in a press release that greater than 100 individuals had been injured within the blast. Bahawalpur’s Victoria Hospital mentioned it was treating 40 victims, all of whom had suffered burns on at the very least 70% of their our bodies.

A state of emergency has been declared within the metropolis, Punjab provincial authorities spokesman Salman Sufi mentioned. Hospitals have been positioned on excessive alert.

The truck veered off the street when the motive force misplaced management in Bahawalpur, police official Mohammad Akhtar informed CNN. Because the tanker sat on the facet of the street, gas started leaking out in massive swimming pools.

The blast engulfed every part across the truck, together with ladies and youngsters, APP reported. Many victims died instantly, whereas others succumbed to their accidents at hospitals.

Police speculate on trigger

Among the individuals gathering on the scene started smoking cigarettes and utilizing their cell telephones to tell buddies and kinfolk of the crash, both of which may have ignited the fireplace, Haroon-ur-Rasheed, a former police official who now handles emergency and rescue operations in Bahawalpur, informed APP.

“Sure, sparking from cell telephones may ignite fireplace,” he informed the information outlet, including that the tanker additionally was fitted with batteries that would have sparked the blaze.

Officers with the Nationwide Highways and Motorway Police urged villagers to avoid the car, however to no avail, police sources informed APP.

The tanker was carrying 25,000 liters (6,600 gallons) of gas from Karachi to Lahore, roughly 440 kilometers (273 miles) northeast of Bawalpahur.

Photos from the scene confirmed the truck overturned with a gaping gap atop the tanker the place the blast had ripped it open like a soda can.

It was surrounded by the husks of burned-out motorbikes and cars, their home windows and tires melted away from the warmth.

In keeping with APP, the explosion destroyed 75 motorbikes and 6 cars. Our bodies had been pulled from automobiles and a bike rickshaw, APP mentioned.

Mohammad Shabbir, a villager, informed CNN affiliate Geo TV that the car’s driver had warned individuals to avoid the truck however his warnings weren’t heeded.

“What’s using this petrol? What is going to you do with it now?” he requested, gesturing in direction of a bucket in his hand.

Pakistan’s Inter-Companies Public Relations, the media wing of Pakistan’s navy, mentioned military helicopters transported 51 individuals 60 miles (97 kilometers) north to Mixed Army Hospital Multan. They’re all in essential confiction, ISPR mentioned.

It added that the street had been reopened and that visitors had began to circulation once more.

‘Deep grief’

Shortly after the accident, Pakistan Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif “expressed deep grief over the heavy lack of life.”

“The Prime Minister has directed provincial authorities to supply full medical help to the injured with burns,” a press release from his workplace mentioned. “The Prime Minister has expressed sympathies with the bereaved households and prayed for the departed souls.”

Amid criticism that the federal government has failed to reply adequately to the tragedy, the prime minister’s daughter tweeted that Sharif would minimize quick his journey to London and return to Pakistan instantly. He was in London for his grandson’s commencement ceremony, Maryam Nawaz Sharif tweeted.

Chief Minister of Punjab Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has mentioned an inquiry will likely be held into the incident.

Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf celebration, tweeted that the blaze was “a nationwide tragedy of epic proportions.”

The politician and former cricketer mentioned he had requested native management to evaluate what help could possibly be offered to the injured and victims’ households.

The US Embassy in Islamabad tweeted its condolences.

“We’re so saddened to listen to of the horrible oil tanker accident in #Bahawalpur,” it mentioned. “Our deep condolences to the households and family members of the victims.”

CNN’s Sophia Saifi reported from Karachi and Eliott C. McLaughlin wrote from Atlanta. Susannah Cullinane, James Masters and Adeel Raja contributed to this report.

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