At least 42 killed in Pakistan after speeding bus veers out of control


Security officials inspect the wreckage of a passenger bus at the scene of an accident in Pano Aqil, Pakistan on April 20, 2014. At least 42 passengers were killed when the passenger bus overturned after a collision with a truck in Pano Aqil in Sindh province. Pakistan has one of the world’s worst records for fatal traffic accidents, blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving. (WAQAR HUSSEIN/EPA)

If you’ve ever taken a  journey in Pakistan on a rickety overloaded bus or truck along roads that are often crumbling to the point of disintegration, you know the fear. It hurtles along as if it were on a German autobahn, sometimes with the wheels off the ground on one side or the other as it takes a curve or dodges an animal.

If you’re not used to it, you close your eyes and pray for your life. With good reason.

Sixteen people were killed and 49 injured when an overloaded truck crashed into a ravine earlier this month in Punjab. A collision between two buses and a tanker killed 35 people in late March. Some 20 died in a crash in May 2012. There’s more here.

But no one could immediately recall a crash as bad as Sunday’s.

According to Pakistani news reports, at least 42 people were killed and over two dozen injured in Sindh province when a big red, green and beige bus tried to overtake a tractor trailer on a dilapidated highway and veered out of control.

The bus had only 60 seats, according to reports, but was carrying at least 75 people.

Police said one of the lanes of the two-lane road may have been closed for repairs.

The crash took place about 260 miles north of the destination, Karachi. It took two hours for a rescue operation to get underway, according to AFP.

The dead included six members of a family who were traveling on the bus to visit their relatives in Karachi.

“We were 10 members of one family. Six of them died,” said 18-year-old Maryam Bibi, weeping. Bibi survived the crash along with her 6-year-old brother, according to The Tribune in Pakistan.

Senior Superintendent of Police Fida Hussain Shah told news agencies that the bus driver was killed. The truck driver was critically injured.

Another officer said “most of the passengers were trapped between their seats. We rescued them by cutting the bus body with metal cutters.”

Shah said reckless driving by the bus driver caused the accident.

Fred Barbash, the editor of Morning Mix, is a former National Editor and London Bureau Chief for the Washington Post.
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