Wednesday Aug 09 2017
Web Desk

Oil tanker flips over near Nawabshah; no casualties reported

Web Desk
This image – taken on August 9, 2017 – shows an oil tanker that overturned on Qazi Ahmed National Highway, Nawabshah. GEO NEWS

NAWABSHAH: An oil tanker flipped over late Tuesday night here on the Qazi Ahmed National Highway, police officials said.

The vehicle – which is said to have been carrying almost 60,000 litres of high-octane fuel – overturned while en route from Karachi to Lahore. The crash site was sealed right after rescue authorities arrived alongside a contingent of police.

Rescue teams have reached the site of the accident and are currently working to remove the spilt fuel from the road. Officials at the scene say the area will be cleared for traffic soon.

Rise of oil tanker crashes

Oil tanker incidents have been on the rise lately in Pakistan, with authorities conducting a mock exercise on GT Road in Peshawar earlier this month.

July 30 saw a private company’s oil tanker overturning on Mehran Highway in Nawabshah. The tanker – that departed from Karachi – swerved and overturned after the driver tried to stop the vehicle to avoid collision with a donkey cart and motorcycle. The vehicle’s driver and cleaner were unharmed and no casualties were reported, the police said.

Four days prior to that – on July 26 – a major mishap was averted in Sahiwal as an LPG tanker drove over a railway track in Sahiwal after its brakes failed, railways officials said. Police immediately cordoned off the area in the presence of bomb disposal squad and rescue teams.

More than a week before that – July 16 – an oil tanker en route to Punjab overturned on the National Highway near Bhit Shah in Sindh. The vehicle's driver, who got trapped in the front cabin following the incident, was safely extracted.

Police cordoned off the scene of the incident and called for machinery, fire brigade, and rescue teams to commence the rescue operation. 50,000 litres of fuel was reportedly present in the tanker.

On July 13, an oil tanker – transporting around 40,000 litres of fuel – overturned on the National Highway near Rahim Yar Khan. The fault was determined to be of the driver's, who dozed off while passing by Koochi Muhammad Khan, officials said.

No one was harmed in the incident.

An oil tanker travelling from Karachi to Moro went off the M9 motorway in Hyderabad early last month – July 8 – and flipped over in the nearby rough terrain late night. Once again, it was the driver, whom in a drowsy state, caused the tanker to veer off the route. He was severely injured.

A day prior to that, an oil tanker flipped over near Harappa, on the National Highway. The accident occurred since the driver of the vehicle was drowsy and may have dozed off during driving, motorway police officers said. However, he managed to escape and could not be apprehended.

An oil tanker crashed on Khor road in Attock on July 2 after negotiating a steep curve while speeding, officials said. The vehicle was transporting around 50,000 litres of fuel.

However, the last incident near Qazi Ahmed town was on July 1, when an oil tanker caught fire after overturning on the National Highway. The fire brigade managed to control the blaze soon after the incident happened. The vehicle's driver and his helper were reported to be safe, sources told Geo News.

Bahawalpur tragedy

The most horrendous oil tanker-related tragedy this year, however, was when, on June 25, at least 217 people lost their lives and 61 were injured after an oil tanker skidded off the National Highway and caught fire in Ahmedpur East.

After the crash, when fuel started seeping out of the overturned vehicle, hundreds of people from a nearby village rushed to the scene to collect the fuel. They were engulfed in flames when the spill ignited.

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) held a private company responsible for the accident. The company – on July 11 – agreed to pay a fine of approximately Rs. 257 million rupees in compensation for the Ahmedpur East tanker truck explosion.

Measures to prevent future accidents

The Bahawalpur accident sent alarm bells ringing among the authorities, which, consequently, tightened rules and regulations for oil tanker owners. The latter, surprisingly, protested the changes and suspended fuel supply for some days until successful negotiations were held between them and the concerned officials.

Authorities conducted mock exercises on GT Road in Peshawar earlier this month, wherein those involved in rescue work were trained to provide immediate relief to people impacted by the explosions that occur following oil tanker accidents.

National Highway and Motorway DSP Alauddin Khan led the exercises. The highway and motorway police, along with Rescue 1122 teams, participated in the exercises.