HUB: At least 18 people were killed while over 40 sustained injuries after a truck carrying pilgrims plunged into a ravine in Hub district on Wednesday, officials said.

Hub Assistant Superintendent of Police Ahmed Talha Wali confirmed the death toll and injuries. He told reporters that the truck, carrying more than 50 people, was en route to the Shah Noorani shrine in Khuzdar from Thatta.

He said the incident took place at 10pm last night, adding that critically wounded persons had been referred to the Jam Ghulam Qadir Hospital in Hub and Civil Hospital’s Trauma Centre in Karachi.

Three dead in accident

Earlier, Manan Baloch, the Edhi Foundation’s Hub in-charge, said that the rescue operation to retrieve the bodies and injured concluded Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Munir Ahmed informed that the truck was overspeeding and went out of the driver’s control while negotiating a turn.

In a statement issued earlier today, Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives, according to state-run Radio Pakistan. He directed officials to provide the best health facilities to injured people.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also expressed deep grief at the high number of casualties and prayed for the families of the deceased. He also visited the Civil Hospital’s Trauma Centre and met with the injured persons.

Speaking to the media outside the facility, he said 40 people had been discharged so far while five were in critical condition. “All efforts are being made to provide the best medical facilities to the injured,” he added.

Separately, the president and prime minister extended condolences to the grieving families and prayed for the speedy recovery of the wounded.

Road accidents with high fatalities are common in the country due to lax safety measures, poor driver training and decrepit transport infrastructure.

Passenger buses and trucks are frequently crammed to capacity and seatbelts are not commonly worn, meaning high death tolls from single-vehicle accidents are common.

According to the World Health Organisation estimates, more than 27,000 people were killed on Pakistan’s roads in 2018.

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

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