(PatriotWise.com) — Last Sunday, a bus, carrying over 40 passengers, caught fire after colliding with a parked van on the highway in the eastern Punjab province of Pakistan, killing at least 20 and injuring 11, the Associated Press reported.
The accident occurred near Pindi Bhattian after a bus bound for Islamabad rear-ended a van carrying fuel drums that was parked along the shoulder of the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway, according to police. The fuel drums ignited, causing an inferno that engulfed both vehicles.
The rescued passengers suffered severe burns that left some in critical condition, while the passengers who escaped through the windows suffered only slight burns.
Eighteen of the dead were killed at the scene of the accident, while two others with severe burns later died in a nearby Faisalabad hospital. Both the bus driver and the driver of the van were among the dead.
According to a spokesman for the motorway police, the inferno gutted the bus, leaving only its steel frame. Firefighters arrived at the scene within minutes, but in those minutes, the fire had already engulfed both vehicles.
An initial investigation into the accident suggests negligence on the part of the bus driver who struck the van from behind.
Accidents are not uncommon along Pakistani highways, where traffic regulations are frequently violated and safety standards ignored.
In January, at least 39 people were killed after a bus plowed into a ditch and caught fire in southern Pakistan.
The bus, carrying 48 passengers, was traveling to Karachi from Quetta when it struck a pillar of a bridge at high speed. The impact sent the bus careening into the ditch, where it caught fire.
Three passengers, including a mother and child, were rescued, and another two were hospitalized with serious injuries.
The dead, left burned beyond recognition, had to be transported to Karachi to undergo DNA testing to identify them.
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