At least 123 people were killed after an oil tanker caught fire in Punjab, Pakistan today morning, Pakistani media reported.
Dozens more were injured in the massive blaze, that was sparked in Ahmedpur Sharqia in Bahawalpur after the oil tanker overturned on a highway.
Pakistani media outlets reported that the injured were moved to Bahawal Victoria Hospital and District Headquarters Hospital in critical conditions and that the death toll is expected to rise. Several of those injured had suffered 70 per cent burn injuries.
The incident is said to have taken place after the oil tanker overturned while navigating a sharp turn on a highway. Fuel leaked from the tanker’s damaged container and caught fire.
According to Geo TV, dozens of cars and motorcycles parked in the vicinity were charred in the incident. Dawn reported that two fire engines were involved in the rescue operations and that the blaze was eventually brought under control.
The high death toll could be put down to people gathering around the tanker in the aftermath of it overturning.
Multiple Pakistani outlets, including offcial broadcaster Pakistan Radio, reported that people from nearby localities in Bahawalpur rushed to the tanker in order to collect fuel.
As the people were around the tanker, it burst into flames, charring scores to death.
Major General Asif Ghafoor, the official spokesperson of Pakistani military, said that the Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had expressed his grief in the lives lost in the oil tanker fire.
The Pakistani military has been directed to provide of full assistance to the civil administration in rescue and relief efforts, Ghafoor added. “Army Aviation helicopters sent for evacuation of casualties to hospitals/burn centres. Hospitals placed on high alert,” Ghafoor added.