Bus explosion in Pakistan kills at least 40

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

A bus loaded with wedding party celebrants exploded into flame in Lahore, Pakistan, after sparks from fireworks ignited the fuel tank. 40 people are confirmed dead, with some bodies not identifiable from the fierce fire.

Up to 70 persons were aboard the bus when the accident occurred. The father of the groom, 57 year old Muhammad Wazir Khan, was aboard the bus and managed to escape with his clothing afire, but suffered only minor injuries.

"We do not know who is dead and who has survived. The tragedy has shattered us," he said to reporters.

Injured passengers were taken to nearby hospitals, some treated and released immediately. Rescue workers arrived on the scene, delayed by traffic, to remove bodies from the wreck. Police investigator Rana Shabbir Ahmad told the AFP news agency the bodies were of 11 women, 10 men and a child about nine years old.

The bride and groom, traveling in a separate vehicle, were uninjured.