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Pakistan: 17 pilgrims killed, dozens injured in bus crash

April 11, 2024

The bus carrying pilgrims to Eid al-Fitr celebrations fell into a ditch in southwest Pakistan. Deadly accidents are not uncommon in the country, due to poor driver training, lax safety measures and inadequate roads.

Volunteers transfer the dead bodies of religious pilgrims into a vehicle in Karachi on April 11
For a group of Pakistani pilgrims, a journey to a religious site in Baluchistan ended in tragedyImage: Rizwan Tabassum/AFP/Getty Images

A bus carrying pilgrims to a religious site in southwest Pakistan left the road and plunged into a ravine on Wednesday night, killing 17 people and injuring dozens more.

Current estimates of the number of injuries from the over-capacity coach range from 41 to over 50, news agencies report.

The pilgrims were traveling to a revered shrine in Baluchistan on the first day of Eid al-Fitr celebrations when the bus driver lost control of the vehicle in the mountainous district of Las Bela, just 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from its destination.

Pakistan bus was 'speeding'

"The bus was speeding and it went out of the driver's control while negotiating a turn," district deputy commissioner Munir Ahmed told the AFP news agency.

"The driver jumped out of the truck and remains safe," he added.

At least 15 people said to be in serious condition have been transferred to a hospital in Karachi in the neighboring Sindh province.

Baluchistan Chief Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti expressed his regret over the crash.

Deadly accidents on Pakistan roads

Deadly road accidents are common in Pakistan where lax safety measures, poor driver training and decrepit transport infrastructure combine to create dangerous conditions.

According to official UN figures, more than 28,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2019 alone. The actual figure is likely to be higher.

In January 2023, 41 people were killed when their coach, which was also loaded with containers of flammable oil, plunged into a ravine in Balochistan province and burst into flames.

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mf/wd (dpa, AP, AFP)