The death toll in Pakistan’s oil tanker inferno rose to 206 on Monday as three more persons injured in the country’s one of the worst fire accidents succumbed to their injuries, officials said. Six officials, including a DSP-level officer, were suspended on Friday for negligence that led to the incident. The Dawn reported that the death toll in Ahmadpur Sharqia oil tanker fire has risen to 206 and 65 injured are still recovering in hospitals. In Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur, 25 patients are said to be in a stable condition. However, nine patients in Lahore and 17 in Multan are in a critical condition.
A team of surgeons have been called in to conduct skin transplants at a hospital in Lahore. At least 120 people including women and children were killed on the spot and 140 injured last week, a day before Eid, when they rushed to collect fuel leaking from the crashed oil tanker in Bahawalpur, some 400 kilometres from Lahore. The tanker caught fire after the explosion and some 50,000 litres of petrol spilled from the vehicle. The tanker, coming from Karachi to Lahore, veered off the road when the driver lost control after one of its tyres burst. It exploded after someone lit a cigarette.
The cause of the fire has not been made official yet, but it is believed that a spark from the many cars and motorcycles that raced to the scene may have ignited the fuel. Meanwhile, according to motorway police spokesman Imran Shah, six officials have been suspended on the recommendation of the departmental inquiry committee probing into the incident on the basis of technical data.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had also met the victims of the tragedy and said that the government would provide jobs to those who were injured in the explosion and relatives of the affected families. He had vowed that the incident would be thoroughly investigated and those found guilty of dereliction of duty would be punished. Punjab province Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has constituted a four-member inquiry committee to investigate the Bahawalpur tragedy.