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Waqar Hussein / EPA

Dozens dead in Pakistan bus collision

At least 56 people, including 18 children, die after passenger bus collides with truck in southern Sindh province

At least 56 people, including 18 children, were killed on Tuesday after a passenger bus collided head-on with a truck carrying goods in southern Pakistan, officials said.

The accident happened near the city of Khairpur, 280 miles north of Karachi, the capital of southern Sindh province.

"The Karachi-bound passenger bus, which was coming from northwestern city of Swat went on the wrong side of the road and collided head-on with a goods container, killing 56 people," senior local police official Nasir Aftab told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

He said 18 passengers were injured in the accident, adding that those killed in the crash included 17 women and 18 children. A senior doctor at the Khairpur civil hospital confirmed the death toll and said the condition of three of the injured was critical.

Pakistan has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.

The emergency services' recovery equipment is basic. And when crashes happen away from major towns, as they often do, rescue efforts can take some time, reducing injured passengers' chances of survival.

In April, a bus smashed into a tractor-trailer in a high speed collision in Sindh, killing 42 people. In March a horrific crash between two buses and a petrol tanker left 35 dead, with many burned alive when the fuel ignited.

The mountainous areas of Kashmir and the north, where drivers careen around narrow hairpin bends over deep ravines with scant regard for safety, are particularly prone to accidents. Three crashes in the space of 10 days in March in Kashmir and the northwest left a total of 46 people dead.

Wire services

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