Fuel leaking from an overturned tanker has caught fire in a Pakistani city, killing at least 148 people. The death toll is likely to climb even higher as dozens of those injured are said to be in critical condition.
Pakistani Geo News reported on Sunday that the incident happened in the Pul Paka district in the Pakistani city of Bahawalpur on Sunday after crowds of people gathered to collect fuel leaking from a tanker that had overturned in an accident on the National Highway.
Eyewitnesses said several people were smoking cigarettes near the area, and that the fire from the cigarettes may have ignited the deadly inferno.
Rescue sources said the victims had been burnt beyond recognition and that only DNA sampling could be used to identify them.
Some of the victims were locals of the district. Others were passing by.
Dozens of vehicles were caught in the large fire, which Geo said had come under control.
More than 100 people are reported to have been injured in the incident.
The Pakistani military said it was sending army helicopters to evacuate the wounded. Hospitals have been placed on high alert.
At least 62 people, including women and children, were killed in southern Pakistan in 2015 when their bus collided with an oil tanker, starting a fierce blaze that left victims badly burnt.