More than 120 killed in Pakistan tanker explosion

More than 120 killed in Pakistan tanker explosion
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At least 123 people are now known to have died after a petrol tanker exploded in Pakistan.

The tragedy happened near the city of Bahawalpur, where people had gathered around the overturned tanker, some attempting to retrieve some of the petrol.

As well as those killed, more than 80 people were injured, many in a critical condition. It is feared the death toll could rise further.

Some initial reports from the scene said someone had tried to light a cigarette, igniting some of the spilt petrol.

“Locals and passersby had started gathering fuel when the tanker exploded, burning everybody,” said provincial government spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan.

Traffic police had tried to keep the crowd away from the tanker.

It took firefighters more than two hours to extinguish the flames.

Serious burn victims, several in critical condition, were airlifted by helicopter to hospitals in Bahawalpur and nearby cities for treatment.

The prime minister’s office said the Punjab provincial government had been directed to provide full medical assistance.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif expressed “deep grief” over the heavy loss of life.

Police say the tanker had been carrying 25,000 litres (5,500 gallons) of fuel and was on its way to Lahore from Karachi.

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