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School van blast kills 15 students in Pakistan

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-05-25 13:33

ISLAMABAD - At least 15 children were killed in a school van gas cylinder blast that took place early Saturday morning in Gujrat, a district in Pakistan's eastern province of Punjab, reported local media Dunya.

The blast also killed a teacher on board, said local media, adding that the killed included 13 boys and two girls.

Nine including eight children and a driver were reportedly injured in the blast.

Sources with Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Hospital said many admitted into the hospital suffered burn injuries and at least five kids were critically wounded and the death toll may further rise.

The blast caused a huge fire after completely destroying the vehicle, said local reports.  

The incident took place at about 7:40 a.m. (local time) when a school van numbered SD 9076 was heading towards a private school in Gujrat after collecting students from four nearby villages in Gujrat, a district lying some 170 km southeast of the country's capital Islamabad.

There were an estimated 25 people on board and the students were aged between 8 and 12, said local media.

Initial investigatation showed the blast was an accident caused by the gas cylinder of the van, said police.  

Many vehicles in Pakistan are powered by compressed natural gas due to cheap price. However, because of the poor manufacturing quality of gas cylinders, gas cylinder blasts frequently occur in the country, forcing the government to consider the ban of the use of such devices on public transport vehicles.

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