17 dead in Pakistan bus fire

Last updated 00:04 26/05/2013

Relevant offers

Asia

South Korea mourns on ferry disaster anniversary MH370 search area to double 'Come and distress': Malaysia's stress ball mocked online New Zealand involved in spying on Bangladesh Asked who ordered Robert Ellis' murder, wife answers 'probably me' Indonesian Islamic parties seek ban on alcohol consumption China calls on Dalai Lama to 'put aside illusions' about talks Former Manawatu hockey player dies in Phillipines prison India builds first "smart" city as urban population swells Passengers injured as plane skids off runway in Japan

Sixteen schoolchildren and a teacher burned to death in eastern Pakistan early Saturday when a short-circuit near a leaking gas tank caused their minibus to be engulfed in flames, police said.

Police officer Ijaz Ahmad said five children were also injured, three of whom were listed in critical condition, in the blaze in Gujrat about 200 kilometers northwest of Islamabad. The children were aged between 6 and 12, he said.

Earlier, police had blamed an exploding natural gas cylinder for the incident. The bus was powered with both types of fuel.

TV footage showed the charred minibus and victims of the relatives crying outside a hospital.

A schoolgirl told Pakistan's Geo news channel that the driver escaped when the vehicle went up in flames. Authorities said they were trying to track him down and arrest him.

Ahmed said the driver could have saved many lives. "We have been told that he fled from there when the children were crying for help," the officer said.

In a statement, President Asif Ali Zardari expressed "deep shock" over the incident and directed authorities to provide the best medical care to the injured children.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content