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16 children burned to death, 7 injured, on their way to school

By Mason White 8:13 PM May 25, 2013
The burned school bus 

By: Sarah Weiss
(Scroll down for video) More than a dozen schoolchildren along with their teacher were burned to death while riding on a school bus to school, according to a statement released by police in Pakistan.

At least 16 children and their teacher were killed when their bus caught fire in eastern Pakistan, police said, while at least seven other children were taken to a hospital after the incident on the outskirts of the city of Gujrat.

It is unclear how the fire broke out. Some eyewitnesses said that a gas cylinder exploded, but police said that it was not the case.
The bus driver has survived, but is being sought by police after fleeing from the scene.

The children, aged between four and 10, were located a few miles from their school in Gujrat, about 200 kilometers or 120 miles southeast of the capital Islamabad, when the incident occurred.

Police Officer Dar Ali Khattak said that the fire was apparently caused by a spark when the bus driver tried to switch fuel sources.

Two children who survived by escaping through a window in the back of the bus, said that they had smelled gas before the fire started.
One of the children said that the other kids were crying: “Brother, save us, save us, we’re burning.”
“I took a big stick and broke the glass. I tried to save them, but I could not,” one child said.

“The parents of the schoolchildren are devastated, as they never dreamed that their children will be burned to death on their way to school. The families will need to go through lots of therapy to recover from this,” Kathy Baily, 35, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania told after being asked to comment on the school bus fire.

Compressed natural gas is used in millions of vehicles in Pakistan as a cheaper alternative to diesel and gasoline.
Numerous vehicle explosions have been attributed to poor cylinders used to contain the fuel.Mobile video not loading? Click here to view