ISLAMABAD - A bus carrying thirty-nine passengers from Riyadh to Makkah met an accident near Madinah killing dozens of passengers, the foreign ministry said yesterday.

Reports said 35 passengers out of total 39 lost their lives. “Initial reports indicate that the deceased also include a certain number of Pakistani nationals. Of the four survivors, there is one Pakistani named Akbar, who is seriously injured,” the statement said.

It added: “The Pakistan Consulate General in Jeddah has established contact with him and is in touch with the concerned Saudi authorities and staff of the King Fahad Hospital, Madinah, to ascertain details of casualties of Pakistani nationals.”

According to news reports, 35 people were killed and four injured after a passenger bus collided with a truck in the Saudi province of Medinah, a Saudi police spokesman said.

The “private chartered bus”, carrying 39 pilgrims from Asian and Arab countries, collided with a “heavy vehicle” in the town of al-Akhal on Wednesday, the spokesman was quoted by official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) as saying.

The agency said the crash happened around 7pm (16:00 GMT) on the road linking Makkah to the city of Medinah. The injured have been transferred to Al-Hamna Hospital, SPA added, and authorities have launched an investigation.

The accident comes after four British pilgrims were killed and 12 others injured in Saudi Arabia when their bus collided with a fuel tanker in April 2018.

In January 2017, six Britons, including a two-month-old baby, were killed in a minibus on their way to Medina after making a pilgrimage to Mecca.