QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A speeding bus carrying pilgrims overturned on a highway and fell into a ravine in a remote area in southwestern Pakistan before dawn on Friday, killing at least 20 people and injuring 50 others, police and officials said.
The accident happened in Khuzdar, a district in Baluchistan province, local police official Hafeez Ullah Mengal said. Rescuers transported the dead and injured to military and government hospitals, he added.
Imam Bakhsh, one of the injured passengers, told The Associated Press by phone that passengers had repeatedly warned the driver to be more careful. He blamed the driver for the accident, saying he was enjoying music and driving recklessly.
Imran Ahmad, an official with the Levies security force said driver negligence apparently caused the accident, but that officers were still investigating.
The pilgrims were returning to Dadu, a district in the neighboring southern Sindh province, after visiting a shrine of a Sufi saint. Bashir Ahmed, a deputy commissioner in the Khuzdar district, said the driver lost control on a sharp turn.
He said the bus was overcrowded and several pilgrims were also sitting on its roof when the accident took place. Ahmed said some of the injured were listed in critical condition. He said the bus driver was also among the injured.
“There is not a single passenger who does not have an injury because of the bus accident,” Ahmed told the AP by phone. He said thousands of people from across the country visit the shrine every year to participate in the annual congregation at the shrine. Those who died or were injured were from Sindh province.
Deadly accidents are common in Pakistan due to poor road infrastructure and disregard for traffic laws. Last month, a bus overturned on a highway in the southern district of Sukkur, killing 13 passengers and injuring 29 others.
The latest bus accident happened days after at least 65 passengers were killed in a horrific collision of two trains in the southern town of Ghotki in the Sindh province. The collision took place on a dilapidated railway when an express train barreled into another that had derailed minutes earlier on Monday.
Associated Press Writer Asim Tanveer contributed to this story from Multan, Pakistan