KARACHI: At least 19 people including 17 children were killed in Pakistan on Wednesday when a school van smashed head-on into a heavy truck, officials said.
The van collided with the loaded dump-truck near the town of Nawabshah, around 270 kilometres or 170 miles north of Karachi in the southern province of Sindh.
The children, who were students of the Bright Future School from the nearby town of Daulatpur, had come to Nawabshah for a school trip.
Their van was on its way back to Daulatpur when the accident happened.
"We have 19 dead bodies out of which 17 are children," said doctor Hashim Langa, chief of the government-run Civil Hospital in Nawabshah.
"Their ages range from five or six to 16," he told AFP.
Apart from the dead, some 15 to 20 injured were also brought to the hospital, he added.
Police said that reckless driving might have caused the tragic accident.
"We are investigating the reasons but apparently it must have been irresponsible driving by one of the drivers," senior police officer Asif Ali Pechuho told AFP.
The driver of the school van was among the dead, he said.
Pakistan has one of the world's worst records for fatal traffic accidents, blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving. Multiple-casualty accidents are common. (AFP)