ATTOCK - At least 13 people were burnt to death when a speedy truck collided with a passenger van on GT Road near Cadet College Hasanabdal on Sunday.

Police and rescue officials said that the Peshawar-bound passenger van (T4729) was boarding passengers at Abbottabad Chowk when the speedy truck (PR-7775) collided with the van and consequently both the vehicles rammed into a roadside gas supply line and caught the fire.

The speedy truck pushed the ill-fated van almost 200 meters away before they hit the gas pipeline line and caught fire. The illegally installed cylinder in the van also exploded and all the passengers on board were burnt beyond recognition. 

The rescue operation, which lasted for over four hours, was completed after the main gas supply line was closed down.

“I was coming back after distribution of newspapers at Cadet College when at around 5.50am I heard a big bang. It was a horrible scene when I reached the spot and found passengers including women and children, who had been trapped in the van engulfed with fire, crying for help,” said newspaper hawker Shahid Khan.

Another eyewitness Zulfiqar Ali- a rickshaw driver, said the speeding truck overtook my three-wheeler from the wrong side near the bus stand. I saw the truck rammed into the passenger van.

Asif Khan, a middle aged man, who told reporters that he had boarded his wife on the ill-fated van and just turned towards his motorcycle when the speeding truck rammed into the van and it caught fire after hitting the gas supply unit.

Zareen Gul, a cart vendor, said that there was no time for rescuers to save human lives as the van was in flames soon after the incident before fire tenders from nearby TMA complex reached the scene.

District Police Officer Zahid Nawaz Marwat, District Coordination Officer Rana Akbar Hayat, SSP Motorway Police Najeebur Rehman, ASP Hassanabdal Dr Ammra Sherazi, Assistant Commissioner Ms Jannat Hussain and District Emergency Officer Mian Mohammad Ishfaq reached the scene and supervised the rescue operation.

District emergency officer Mian Mohammad Ishfaq while talking to newsmen said that charred bodies were retrieved from the van and shifted to the mortuary at POF Hospital Wah Cantt.

He said the bodies could only be identified through DNA test.

DCO Akbar Hayat said that all possible resources were mobilized during the rescue operation at the site of the accident. He said that conductor of the truck, identified as Mushtaq Ali, received multiple injuries and was shifted to PIMS in Islamabad for treatment. He added that the truck driver identified as Kamran was among the dead.

Meanwhile, expressing the grief over the loss of lives, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the authorities to submit a report on the incident.

Agencies add: At least four people were killed and three injured when a trailer collided with a motorcycle and tractor-trolley in Khairpur early Sunday.

The injured and deceased were shifted to KMC Teaching Hospital Khairpur.

Two of the deceased were yet to be identified till filing of the report.

In another incident, a man and his daughter were killed and a woman and her daughter were injured in DG Khan on Sunday.