The military said it was sending army helicopters to evacuate the wounded and hospitals were put on high alert.The nearest burn centre is believed to be more than 93 miles away.A loudspeaker atop a local mosque alerted villagers to the leaking fuel, and scores raced to the site with jerrycans, said Rana Mohammad Salim, deputy commissioner of Bahawalpur.Highway police moved quickly to redirect traffic but could not stop those who raced to collect the fuel, said a spokesman.The tragedy came one day before Pakistan was due to begin Eid ul-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, with many roads crowded as people travel home for the holidays.
“Everything was a mess, there was blood everywhere,” he remembers.
At least 62 people including women and children were killed in southern Pakistan in 2015 when their bus collided with an oil tanker, starting a fierce blaze that left victims burnt beyond recognition.
The country has also long struggled to contain a chronic energy crisis, with regular blackouts suffocating industry and exacerbating anger against the government.
Are they alive or are they no longer in this world? Police tried to cordon off the area but were overwhelmed by the villagers who pushed through to reach the truck.
Eyewitnesses said about 30 motorcycles that had carried villagers to the accident site lay in charred ruins nearby. Pakistan has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.