Sunday, 11 January 2015

Karachi bus crash: 62 die after collision between bus and oil tanker in southern Pakistan

At least 62 people, including women and children, were today killed when their overcrowded bus collided head-on with a speeding oil tanker, sparking a major fire in southern Pakistan, in the deadliest road accident to hit the country in recent times.

The deadly accident occurred in the early hours on the Super Highway about 50 kms from here in Sindh province as the bus was travelling from Karachi to Shikarpur, Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui said.

The overcrowded bus, carrying around 80 people with some sitting on its roof, collided with an oil tanker coming from the opposite direction and wrong side of the road.

“It was the mistake on part of drivers of both vehicles as they were overspeeding and the passenger bus was overloaded with some passengers even sitting on the roof,” Siddiqui told

“It was a very tragic incident because those killed include women and children and most were burnt alive after the bus and tanker caught fire,” Siddiqui said.

He said rescue workers recovered bodies of children stuck to their mothers as they were apparently trapped after the collision and could not escape the fire.

The devastating incident also killed nine members of a Karachi family, including its 80-year-old head and a two-year- old toddler. So far, 62 bodies were recovered from the site and sent to the state-owned Jinnah Hospital here.

Seemi Jamali, the emergency department in charge at the hospital, said most of the bodies were beyond recognition and could only be identified with DNA tests.

An unspecified number of injured have also been shifted to the Jinnah Hospital, where emergency has been declared.

“The death toll has climbed since this morning as rescue workers recovered bodies from the burnt vehicles after the fire was put off,” she said. The bus was completely burned on the inside due to the fire.

“Some even tried to save their lives by trying to leap out of the windows and from the roof of the bus,” senior police official in Shikarpur Nadeem Khan said.

Earlier, senior police official Rao Muhammad Anwaar said the bus hit the oil tanker and caught fire.

A probe has been launched but it appeared the poor condition of the single track road also contributed to the fatal accident, another senior police official Aamir Shiekh said.

Sunday 11 January 2015

continue reading

AirAsia QZ8501: Three more bodies identified

The bodies of a South Korean couple have been identified, together with the body of a 19-year-old Indonesian passenger, announced Indonesia police in Surabaya at a press conference on Sunday (Jan 11).

However, the baby daughter of the South Koreans has not yet been identified, said police, adding that they have not received any bodies of a 1-year-old child - the age of the Korean baby.

The bodies of the South Koreans are still at the hospital, and police said that they are in touch with the South Korean embassy, adding that the next-of-kin of the couple have yet to arrive. A Korean Disaster Victim Identification team said they will stay on in Surabaya to wait for the baby, as well as help identify other Indonesian victims.

A total of 48 bodies have been recovered, with 32 bodies have been identified so far, said police. Another 16 bodies have not been identified.

At the press conference, police urged families to provide information if their loved ones have ever been to a dentist. Authorities said dental records are very important at this stage of the identification process, adding that they have contacted dentists to try and get dental records to help where information is not complete.

Korean Lee Kyung-Hwa was identified using data like dental records and also because she was wearing maternity bra, as she had an infant on board, said police.

Sunday 11 January 2015

continue reading

India: GRP portal helps kin of rail accident victims trace them and get closure

For three years, Bajirao Pawar and his wife searched high and low for their teenage son, Mahesh, who had left home saying he wouldn't return till he made it big. Two months ago, Bajirao, as a last resort, visited the GRP commissioner's office and went through their portal 'Shodh' that uploads pictures of unknown rail accident vicims. After scouring through pages and pages of pictures, Bajirao broke down. He had spotted Mahesh's picture on the website. Today, he believes that finally knowing what had happened to their boy gave the family some closure.

There is an average of 10 deaths reported on the railways every single day.

Shodh was developed by the GRP to help families of missing persons trace them. And yet, despite police's efforts, there are 1,100 rail accident casualties from 2014 that are yet to be identified.

"Shodh can be accessed from anywhere but not every family is net savvy. Our personnel help them surf the portal based on the description of their missing relatives. We have also prepared a database of photographs of unknown victims that the families can go through. This rules out the need to personally visit mortuaries, which can be a very disturbing experience for a family member," says GRP commissioner Ravinder Singhal. Police have to often double up as counsellors. "Bajirao couldn't accept that the picture on the portal was his son's. We asked Bajirao's relatives to come over and not leave him alone even for a minute after he left our office," said a GRP officer. Police records showed that Mahesh was killed at Khar in April 2012, eight months after he left home. Bajirao, a night watchman based in Chembur, was away at his hometown with the rest of his family when his son left.

For Pravin Waghmare, discovering the picture of his missing grandmother on Shodh, came as a shock as she had always been found safe in the past whenever she had wandered away from home. "My grandmother, Yashwanta, was in her late seventies and had a problem remembering things. Once every few months, she would step out for buying something or for a stroll and disappear. She was usually found in Chembur where we stay, or at Wadala where our aunt lives. When she went missing earlier this year, we knew the drill. Missing complaints were registered at Chembur and Wadala police stations. But there was no trace of her," said Waghmare.

The GRP website showed that Yashwanta had been killed near Diva station on March, 30, 2014, eight months before her family learnt of the mishap.

"An unclaimed body has to be disposed of within a week. At times, we keep it in the mortuary for a fortnight if there's a slight chance of tracing the family. In cases where bodies are disposed of as unclaimed, pieces of their clothes or belongings are stored for their families to identify," said an official.

Sunday 11 January 2015

continue reading