13 Dead, 18 Injured when Wedding Bus caught Fire
Dadu: 13 people died with 18 injured when a high-tension electric cable struck a wedding bus that caught fire on Indus Highway in Dadu district on Sunday.
The air-conditioned coach burst into flames as soon as the iron boxes over its roof bumped into the cable, reportedly lying low against the road and hooked on wooden bamboos instead of electric poles. The accident took place near Khairpur Nathan Shah taluka’s bypass road.
The groom and bride remained safe as they travelling in a separate car. The wedding party was returning from Dadu to Khairpur Nathan Shah after the night long wedding celebration.
“All my family members have been burnt into ashes,” sobbed an elderly man, Noor Hassan Babbur, at Dadu’s Civil hospital. Six women, three girls, two men, a boy and an infant are among the deceased.
The district health office identified the deceased members of the Babbur family as as 50-year-old Sehat, 50-year-old Jaindo, 45-year-old Hatil, 40-year-old Zahida, 35-year-old Aamna, 35-year-old Khatoon, 25-year-old Aashiq, 20-year-old Khalida, 18-year-old Tasleem, 17-year-old Parveen, 11-year-old Faraz, 10-year-old Najma and two-year-old Farhan. The Babbur family belongs to Baid village in Khairpur Nathan Shah.
A relative, Wahid, claimed that the residents of their village and several neighbouring ones have complained to the authorities at Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) to elevate the cables and fix the poles. “Although it was also the driver’s judgement mistake, the primary responsibility lies with Sepco that has put all the motorists in harm’s way,” he claimed.
For their part, Sepco superintending engineer Farzand Ali Shah said the company is conducting an inquiry. However, he added, the accident happened because of the iron boxes placed on the coach roof.
According to the district health officer Javed Dawach, the Dadu hospital received eight dead bodies and around two dozen injured. Twelve of them were shifted to Larkana and five to Karachi. Two of the injured died in Larkana and as many on their way to Karachi. A patient also died in Dadu.
“It took at least three hours before the injured were taken to Dadu Civil hospital,” pointed out another family member, Saleem. “Only five or six ambulances, which didn’t even have air-conditioners, belatedly reached the spot,” he said. The victims were first taken to Khairpur Nathan Shah’s taluka hospital mostly in private vehicles but, according to Saleem, there were neither doctors nor a burns ward at the hospital.
Some of the deceased could have been alive if they had received timely medical help, he claimed. “All the injured suffered serious burns but there are no burns facilities even at the Dadu hospital,” he said.
Saleem’s claims were confirmed by special health secretary Dr Khalid Shaikh who told media that the burns wards are functional only in Civil hospitals of Karachi and Hyderabad. “There are two or three more burns wards in different government hospitals but they are not functional,” he admitted.
Dr Shaikh assured that an inquiry committee has been formed under the health department director-general. It will submit its report about the emergency response at Khairpur Nathan Shah and Dadu hospitals within three days, he added.
Meanwhile, the police have yet to lodge an FIR. There were unconfirmed reports that the driver and the coach cleaner escaped after the accident. Most of the deceased have been shifted to the village for burial after the post-mortems were completed.
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