Pakistan bus crash kills at least 33

Officials in Punjab province warn death toll likely to rise

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At least 33 people were killed and 40 injured when a crowded bus collided with a lorry in Pakistan on Monday. Passengers were travelling home for the Muslim Eid Al Adha holiday.

The collision occurred near Dera Ghazi Khan, 100 kilometres from Multan in Punjab province.

A local government official said many of those injured were in a serious condition and the death toll was expected to rise.

The bus had departed from Sialkot and was heading to Dera Ghazi Khan, police said. Officer Hassan Javez said the bus may have been speeding.

Sher Khan, who was leading rescue efforts, said the bus driver was among those killed.

Mr Khan said the passengers were all from the same district of Rajanpur.

TV footage and photos circulating on social media showed rescuers trying to pull bodies from the wreckage. In one image, some of the injured are seen sitting near the bus, waiting for medical help.

Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry expressed his condolences on Twitter and advised public transport drivers to be more careful.

“When will we as a nation realise that the violation of traffic rules is fatal?” he said.

Roads in Pakistan are particularly busy at this time of year as millions of people gather with their families for Eid Al Adha.

Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in Pakistan with one of the worst recent years, 2018, seeing 36,000 deaths on the roads according to government figures.

Busses are a popular mode of public transport and fatal crashes are not uncommon.

In January 2015, 50 people were killed when a bus collided with a speeding petrol tanker near Karachi.

A year previously, at least 50 people died – mostly women and children – when a bus crashed into a lorry in heavy fog.

The high rate of road crashes led the government to launch a National Road Safety Strategy in 2018 to raise awareness of safe driving, with the goal of saving 6,000 lives on the roads by 2030.

Updated: July 19, 2021, 5:11 PM