58 killed as bus runs into truck

Fifty-eight passengers were killed and 22 others injured when a Karachi-bound bus collided head-on with a truck at the Theri Bypass, Khairpur, early on Tuesday morning. The dead comprised 18 children, 17 women and 22 men.

The deadly accident occurred when a Karachi-bound coach (JB-5190) coming from Swat collided with a truck (TKJ-511) loaded with coal at the Theri Bypass near Pir Mangio at around 4:30am on Tuesday.

Rescue teams rushed to the site of the accident and along with villagers started rescue work. The SSP Khairpur besides the Rangers and other rescue teams rushed to the spot. The rescue teams cut open the bus using metal cutters and pulled out the injured victims, who were shifted to the Civil Hospital, Khairpur.

Reports said that due to the lack of rescue equipment, including ambulances, the rescue teams faced problems, which caused a delay in shifting the injured to hospitals. An emergency was declared at the Civil Hospital, Khairpur. Doctors and paramedics in large numbers attended to the injured. SSP Khairpur Nasir Aftab said that 58 passengers were killed and 20 were injured.

He said that most of the passengers belonged to Swat’s Bahrain, Badgram and Madina villages.The district authorities in Khairpur arranged coffin boxes and other necessary items to dispatch the bodies to their native places.

Reports said that 16 bodieswith the truck No: TKJ-511. Rescue teams reached the scene one hour after the accident, said eye witnesses. Villagers started to rescue the victims at first. SSP Khairpur led the police team that reached the spot, followed by Rangers and other rescue teams.

Reports said that rescue teams cut parts of the bus and truck to pull out passengers and shifted them to Civil Hospital Khairpur. Due to lack of equipment, rescue teams faced difficulties. Lack of ambulances delayed delivery of the injured to hospital.

Hospital staff failed to properly manage the emergency situation, which caused an increase in the death toll.Religious used loud speakers to announce from mosques to reach hospital for donating blood. SSP Khairpur asked police to reach hospital and donate blood to the injured.

Different scout organisations including Pak-Hyderi, Al-Farooque, Al-Siddique, AL-Shahbaz, Khairpur Boys Open group, and JDC etc rushed to hospital and established camps to donate blood and give assistance to police, Rangers and hospital staff in handling the emergency.

Pakistan Army Medical Mission of Pano Aqil Garrison, Rangers Medical Core also rushed to the hospital.Ambulances of Edhi, Khidmat Foundation, PPHI, JUD and GIMS also reached the hospital.Doctors, paramedics, and nurses in a large number attended the injured.

The SSP said almost all passengers belonged to Swat and nearby areas. District authorities arranged coffin boxes for the dead bodies. Up to 16 dead bodies have been shifted to Karachi, and others sent by C-130 to Swat. Photos of dead bodies have been displayed by the hospital authorities for their identification. Up to 33 dead bodies have been identified till the filling of this report.

Families said the injured and the dead were labourers and were on the way to Karachi, Hyderabad and other cities of Sindh.

Aslan khan said his brother Dil Muhammad, his wife Nusrat Bibi and children Rafia, Naila, Ibrahim and Bano were killed in the accident. He said they were coming to Ranipur town of Khairpur.

Nisar, his children Unsa, Saima, and wife Nain Tara were among the dead. Sultan, Amroz, Ghulam Ishaq, his sister Saima, Anwar Noman, Muhammad Zada, Bakhtawar, Tota Khan, Noor Muhammad, M Iqbal, Mansoor Illahi, Amna, Muhammad Yaseen, Muhamamd Sami, bus driver Ghulam Hyder and cleaner Mustafa were all killed in the accident.

Anneta, Hazrat Bibi, Aman Bibi, Nasir Ali, Naib Khan, Shahnam, Naik Muhammad, Muhammas Younis, Muzamil, Akbar Zada, Sohrab and others were among the injured.The bus stopped at a local hotel at Therhi, where the ill-fated passengers took tea and used bathrooms.

Eyewitnesses said the negligence on part of the driver caused the fatal accident. They said the road was bumpy but the driver did not slow down. DIG Motorway AD Khawaja said the accident was a result of dumpy and bumpy nature of road, adding that the bus was overloaded. Muhammad Iqbal Malik said he has not seen such a fatal accident as this in his 50 years of service in Khairpur. Senior citizens of Khairpur said that they also never witnessed such a fatal road accident. Sukkur commissioner, DC, Khairpur DC, MNA Nafisa Shah and others visited the Civil Hospital Khairpur and inquire after the injured.

Agencies add: AD Khawaja, the Motorway Police chief of Sindh province, told AFP: “There was a deep ditch on the road which we call ‘rutting’ some 30 to 40 yards before the place where the bus hit the truck.”

“We have learned that the bus went out of control after it hit the rutting and it landed on the opposite side of the road and then hit the truck which was coming from Karachi.”Senior police officer Faisal Chachar, who is in charge of the stretch of highway where the accident happened, said that not long before the accident, the bus driver was fined for overloading.

He said the bus and the truck had both been travelling at around 80-90 kilometres per hour (50-55 miles per hour) when they collided.“We had to call mechanical cranes and cutters to separate the bus and trucks and the bus was compressed completely,” Chachar said.

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed their profound grief over the loss of precious lives in Khairpur accident.In their message, both the president and the prime minister directed the provincial government to provide best medical treatment to the injured.

PPP co-Chairman and former President Asif Ali Zardari expressed grief and sorrow over deaths of 58 people in the accident.In a statement, Zardari said he was shocked and grieved over tragedy in which a passenger bus collided with a truck.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Khursheed Shah, representatives of the Sindh government and other political figures have also expressed grief over the tragedy.

Our correspondent adds from Karachi: The adviser to Sindh CM Waqar Mehdi has demanded of the federal government to order a complete inquiry into the tragic road accident at Khairpur. Talking to The News, he said Sindh government had arranged C-130 aircraft for the ill-fated families to take them at their desired destinations.

He said national highway and superhighway are in a deplorable condition due to which such big road accidents occur. Mehdi said the road where the accident occurred is fully under the control of the federal government as well as National Highway Authority (NHA).

Waqar Mehdi said 42 bodies of ill-fated bus have been sent by C-130 aircraft.He said 16 bodies have been shifted to Karachi by ambulance. Mehdi said 22 injured are being treated at Civil Hospital Khairpur, and one of the injured has been shifted to Larkana. He said Sindh chief minister has announced Rs30,000 for the injured persons each to get full medical cover.

Our Nowshera correspondent adds: The bodies of 40 passengers, who were killed in a road accident in Khairpur, had been shifted to Nowshera for burial through C-130 aircraft here on Tuesday night.

The relatives of the dead people had been waiting at Risalpur in Nowshera since 7 pm to receive the bodies being flown by C-130 aircraft arranged by the Pakistan Army.The mediapersons, police and Pakistan Army soldiers were also present with the relatives.

The local administration in collaboration with the Pakistan Army had arranged 40 ambulances for shifting the bodies to their respective areas for burial.Lt Col Mobeen Shahid and PML-N leader and advisor to the prime minister Amir Muqam briefly spoke to the media. They thanked the Sindh government and Pak Army specially the chief of Rangers Lt Gen Bilal for helping the administration in tackling the tragic incident.