MULTAN, Pakistan: Two passenger buses collided head-on in central Pakistan on Monday, killing 27 people and injuring 69, officials said.
The accident, which occurred on a dangerous curve in Khanpur town in Rahim Yar Khan district, was likely caused by speeding, said police official Jamshid Shah.
Several children, college students and women were among the victims, Shah said. He said police and rescue officials were using cutters to retrieve bodies trapped inside the two buses.
Dr Tasleem Kamran at a government hospital said the injured were being treated. Nearly 40 were reported to be in critical condition, she said. “We have declared an emergency. We desperately need blood,” she said.
Local TV footage showed ambulances and rescue officials rushing the injured persons to hospitals.
Before the rescuers and police arrived, resident Waqar Ahmad said townspeople, who heard the sound of the crash, arrived at the scene and started pulling the victims out of the wreckage. “We thought some bomb had exploded,” Ahmad said.
Jamila Bibi, 60, was travelling in one of the buses, taking her 9-year-old son Faisal Ali at his school.
The driver was reckless, Bibi said. “We protested and asked him to slow down,” she told The Associated Press by phone from her hospital bed.
At one point, all the passengers stood up and asked the driver to slow down or halt, but he didn’t listen to anyone. Instead, she said, the driver told the passengers that anyone who was afraid could get off the vehicle.
Bibi suffered minor injuries but said that her son was badly injured and was fighting for his life.
Deadly road accidents are common in Pakistan, mainly because of bad road infrastructure and reckless driving.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the accident and directed the authorities concerned to provide best medical treatment to the injured, it said.