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Two killed in Motorway pile-up

Thirty-five cars involved in early morning crash during ‘safety week’. PHOTO: EPA

LAHORE: Two people were killed and 18 injured in a 35-car pile-up in heavy fog on the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway on Thursday morning.

The pile-up began when a trailer-truck and a regular truck collided a kilometre from the Babu Sabu Interchange at 7:45am in low visibility caused by a patch of thick fog, rescue and police officials told The Express Tribune.

Oncoming traffic was unable to see the accident, and cars, trucks and a mini-van crashed into the wreckage of the trucks, causing a massive pile-up. Rescue workers then arrived at the scene to give first aid to some and shift the seriously injured to Jinnah Hospital. It took about five hours to clear the scene of the vehicles and debris.

The two people killed were identified as Ataullah, 32, and Latif Babar, 40. Rescue 1122 officials said that Ataullah, a resident of Sargodha, was a helper on the truck involved in the original accident. He had stepped out of his vehicle to inspect the damage when another truck crashed into him and then the wreckage, crushing Ataullah and killing him instantly. Babar died of his wounds from the accident on his way to hospital.

According to Rescue 1122 and Edhi officials, the injured included Raam, 45, Ali, 25, Ali, 35, Majeed, 35, Riaz, 38, Sultan, 38, Noor Khan, 50, Sikandar, 40, Abbas, 27, Wasif, 32, Nabeel, 22, Saleem, 32, Muhammad Majeed, 35, Ali Asghar, 40, Qurban, 30, and Moosa, 25.

ASI Muhammad Akram of Sherakot police station said six of the cars involved in the accident had been very badly damaged.

The accident occurred in the middle of a motorway police ‘safety week’, whereby the force was holding seminars and workshops to teach the public how to drive safely.

The deputy inspector general (DIG) of the National Highway Authority, Ibn-e-Husain, said that many truckers were dangerous drivers.

“They often create the problem as they do not slow down in patches of fog because they want to get to their destination on time. Car drivers usually cooperate with the police and slow down,” he said.

Husain told The Express Tribune that the whole purpose of safety week was to prevent the kind of accident seen on Thursday. He said that the motorway police were calling in students, professionals and truckers to teach them about safe driving.

He said that police personnel inform motorists entering the motorway about the hazards of driving fast in foggy areas. Drivers could get updates on driving conditions on the motorway on FM radio stations, on television and through their 130 helpline, which is open 24 hours a day.

The DIG said that the feed to the helpline comes from the metrological department or from police personnel patrolling the motorway. He said the police had previously tried pasting reflective stickers on vehicles in poor visibility.

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