Sixteen children and a teacher were killed when their school bus caught fire in central Pakistan yesterday, police said.
Seven children were injured in the blaze that destroyed the vehicle.
The van was carrying 24 children to a private school in Gujrat, about 112km north of Lahore, when it caught fire, local police chief Dar Ali Khattak told reporters.
“The fire erupted in the vehicle when the children were only a few kilometers from their school,” he said.
The blaze was apparently caused by a spark when the driver of the dual-fuel van switched from natural gas to gasoline, he said, adding that the fuel gas cylinder was intact.
The children were aged between five and 15 years old, he said, adding that a female teacher also died.
Another police official, Abid Khan, said that the bus driver had fled after the fire.
Five of the injured children were in serious condition, hospital officials said.
Vehicles in Pakistan mostly run on both gasoline and natural gas.
Pakistan has one of the world’s worst records for fatal traffic accidents, blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.