Islamabad, Pakistan.At least 140 people were on Sunday charred to death after an oil tanker overturned and burst into flames in Bahawalpur district of Pakistan’s Punjab Province.Lahore. The local citizens had come out to the wreck site to collect the liquid that was available, until one citizen started smoking and killed nearly 150 people.

Pakistani police sources say at least 140 people were on Sunday charred to death and over 100 others injured after an oil tanker overturned and burst into flames as crowds rushed to collect petrol that spilled out to a highway in the Bahawalpur district of Pakistan’s Punjab Province. Most of the dead bodies are completely charred and they will be identified only by DNA test.

An oil tanker coming from Karachi to Lahore overturned early this morning on the national highway at the Ahmedpur Sharqia area of the district, some 400 km from Lahore, after its tyre burst.

Muhammad Hanif, 40, who suffered burns, told reporters at Victoria Hospital that he was present at his house when his cousin called him informing that the village people were rushing to the highway to collect “free oil.” My cousin told me to pick bottles and come out of the house. When I came out of the house I saw many people rushing towards the highway and some going there by motorcycles. Me and my cousin Rashid reached the highway and joined the people busy in collecting the petrol spilling from the tanker. Suddenly the tanker burst and the people gathered near it were burnt alive. Rashid and I were a little away from the tanker therefore we are alive,” Hanif said.

A blazing fire was apparently caused by someone who lit a cigarette after people from nearby localities gathered on the highway to collect spilt petrol, officials said. The blaze from the oil spill engulfed scores of residents, killing 140 people and injuring over 100 others. Numerous women and children are among the victims.

There were at least 123 people killed before getting any medical help while the rescue officials shifted more than 100 injured to the district headquarters hospital and Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur where the condition of most of them is critical. Officials adding some 50,000 litres of petrol spilled from the oil tanker.

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