KARACHI: At least 21 people, including 19 children, were killed in Pakistan yesterday when a school van smashed head-on into a heavy truck, officials said.
The van collided with the loaded dumper truck near the town of Nawabshah, around 270km 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.
Doctor Hashim Langa, chief of the government-run Civil Hospital in Nawabshah, said the hospital had received 21 dead bodies out of which 19 were children.
“Their ages range from five or six to 16,” he said.
About 20 others, including teachers and students, were injured and taken to People’s Medical College in Nawabshah for treatment. Six of the injured persons were reported as critical and were subsequently shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Police reached the site of accident and started investigation. The driver of the truck was arrested after the accident.
Senior police officer Asif Ali Pechuho said that the school van had been so badly wrecked that rescue workers had to use tools to extract bodies.
The driver of the school van was among the dead, he added.
Pakistan has one of the world’s worst records for fatal traffic accidents, blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.