Seven killed, 14 injured in vehicle gas cylinder explosion in Bhalwal

SARGODHA: A tragic incident occurred on Saturday morning when a gas cylinder exploded in a moving passenger van near the Government College of Commerce in the Bhalwal tehsil of Sargodha district, killing at least seven people and injuring 14 others, rescue officials said.

The van was en route to Kot Momin from Bhalwal when the substandard cylinder filled with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for fuel exploded due to a gas leak, police said.

According to the police, the driver of the van fled the scene right after the explosion, leaving the passengers trapped in the burning vehicle.

Rescue 1122 said that after receiving the alet, nine ambulances, three fire-fighting vehicles and a rescue vehicle were dispatched to the site. The rescue teams put out the fire and took out the injured passengers from the buring van.

The Rescue 1122 said that seven people were killed on the spot while 14 others were injured, and of them, seven were seriously injured and were shifted to the Bhalwal Tehsil Headquarters Hospital. The bodies, of them, five could not be identified yet, were also shifted to the same hospital for medico-legal formalities.

The injured who were taken to the hospital include two children — aged four and 12 — as well as two 50-year-old, the rescue officials said.

One of the injured passengers was identified as Kot Momin Police Station Head Constable Shahid Safdar, who was heading to work in the ill-fated van.

He said that he was sitting on the front seat of the van when the cylinder exploded around 8:30am.

He said that he immediately exited the vehicle and broke open the middle door and the rear door of the van to take out some of the burning passengers, but could not save six to seven people present in the van.

The police said that they have registered a case against the owner and the driver of the van for negligence and violation of safety standards.

Incidents like this were not uncommon in Pakistan as several passenger vans have substandard cylinders, with no quality and security checks in place.

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