10 kids killed in Pak bus mishap


Islamabad, February 27:

At least 10 children died today when a bus carrying them on a school excursion me with a mishap on a highway in southeastern Pakistan, officials said.

Many of the other 61 people on the bus, including the driver and conductor, suffered injuries in the accident near Kalar Kahar, about 120 km southeast of the capital, Islamabad, said Abid Hussain, a spokesman for the highway police.

The 10 students died on the spot, Hussain said. Fifteen of the survivors have suffered serious injuries and have been taken to hospitals, Hussain said.

The children, many of them under age 10, were traveling to Khewra, the sight of Pakistan’s oldest and largest salt mines, from the city of Rawalpindi near Islamabad, said police official Malik Mohammed Sabir.

The bus swerved into the opposite lane, fell into a ditch and smashed into a roadside safety barrier, Sabir said.

Police have launched an investigation, Sabir said, adding that he suspected the vehicle’s brakes had failed in the twisting and hilly Salt Range section of the motorway.

Fatal road accidents are common in Pakistan where most roads are poorly maintained. Another problem is that public transport drivers have often received little training and work long hours.

Motorway police and rescuers have taken the injured to two separate hospitals in the towns of Kalar Kahar and Chakwal.