Pakistan oil tanker inferno: Death toll rises to 218 in 'one of the worst fire accidents in the country'

Lahore: With the death of 12 more people, the toll in Pakistan's oil tanker inferno rose to 218, making it one of the worst fire accidents in the country, officials said on Thursday.

Local residents examine the burnt motorcycles at the site of the oil tanker fire. AP

Local residents examine the burnt motorcycles at the site of the oil tanker fire. AP

The patients succumbed to their injuries in Lahore and Multan hospitals during the last a couple of days.

"The death toll in the oil tanker inferno has risen to 218 as 12 more patients succumbed to their injuries during in the last couple of days in Lahore and Multan hospitals," Punjab government (Accidents and Emergencies) director doctor Ammir Bokhari said, adding that the toll may rise further.

The condition of 49 patients, including 21 in Bhawalpur, 14 in Multan and six in Lahore, was said to be very critical, he said.

Meanwhile, the burn units in Punjab are facing a shortage of doctors and other staff. There is a shortage of senior doctors in the plastic surgery and anesthesia departments where doctors have not been posted against the sanctioned posts for years, officials said.

Two burnt patients had skin graft with the allografts donated by the US, he said.

"There is no trend of donating skin in Pakistan and allografts had been brought from the US," he said.

"The team of doctors treating the patients has undertaken training in Italy. The deaths are not occurring due to the lack of facilities, but those with no survival chances are losing their lives," Bokhari said.

At least 120 people including women and children were killed on the spot and 140 injured on 25 June, 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 vehicle, 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.

According to authorities, six officials, including a DSP-level officer, have been suspended for negligence.

Updated Date: Jul 06, 2017 17:51 PM

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