At least 17 people were burned alive as a microbus carrying a picnic party caught fire after its gas cylinder exploded in a violent collision with a passenger bus in Katakhali Bazar area of Rajshahi city on Friday.
Fifteen of the deceased were identified as Salahuddin, his wife Samsunnahar, their children Sajid and Saba, Samsunnahar’s sister Kamrun Nahar, Tajul Islam, his wife Mukta and son Yamin, Mokhles, Ful Mia, his wife Nazma and their daughter Sumiya, Sadia, Faisal and microbus driver Hanif Mia.The identities of two other deceased could not be ascertained immediately.
Witnesses said a Rajshahi-bound microbus from Rangpur collided head-on with a Dhaka-bound bus of Hanif Paribahan from Rajshahi around 1:45pm.
“The microbus caught fire as its gas cylinder exploded in the violent collision with the bus,” says a spot account of the tragic road accident.
After colliding with the bus, the microbus driver lost control over the steering and also smashed a Laguna standing near on Rajshahi-Dhaka highway, locals said.
The microbus was heading with 17 people, including three girls and two kids, to Rajshahi from Rangpur.
Local people recovered 11 bodies from inside the burning microbus on the spot.They also rescued six more people from the microbus and rushed them to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. They succumbed to their burn injuries later on.
No bus passenger was killed in the accident. But three bus passengers were injured in the accident. They were admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, they said.
Abdur Rauf, senior station officer of Rajshahi Sadar Fire Station, said the fire and the casualties took place due to the explosion of the microbus’ gas cylinder.
According to CCTV video footage, a bamboo-laden battery-powered van and a teenager riding a bicycle were going to the city during the accident. The microbus was also coming in the same direction in a high speed.
A bus of Hanif Paribahan was also coming from the opposite direction. The microbus overtook the bamboo-laden van.
When the microbus overtook the bamboo van, the bus came in and collided head-on with the microbus, said Golam Ruhul Quddus,
additional deputy commissioner of Police (Headquarters) of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP).
Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Commissioner Abu Kalam Siddique visited the spot.