Fire in school bus kills 17 children and a teacher in Pakistan

Eurasia News

Gujrat, Pakistan: Seventeen children and a teacher were charred to death in Pakistan’s Punjab province today when the bus taking them to school caught fire apparently due to a leaking gas cylinder. The Dispatch News Desk (DND) reported.

Seven children were injured in the the incident which occurred near Village Rajeke around 15 kms from the District Headquarters of Gujrat, about 170 km east of Islamabad. The van was carrying 24 children to a private school, when it caught fire, local police chief Dar Ali Khattak told the media.“The fire erupted in the vehicle when the children were only a few kilometres from their school,” he said. Rescue teams reached the scene to assist the children.

The blaze was apparently caused by a spark when the driver of the dual-fuel van switched from gas to petrol, he said, adding that the fuel gas cylinder was intact. The children were aged between five and 15 years old, he said, adding that a female teacher also died.

Another police official, Abid Khan, said the driver fled after the fire and police were conducting raids to arrest him. Footage on television showed the bus was charred by the fire that spread rapidly.Two seriously injured children were shifted to a hospital in Lahore while others were being treated in Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Hospital  hospital in Gujrat. Five of the injured children were in serious condition, hospital officials said.  Bodies of the victims were unrecognisable and parents demand DNA testing to claim their children.

Vehicles in Pakistan mostly run on both petrol and natural gas.