A bus in southwestern Pakistan plunged into a ravine and caught fire, killing at least 40 people aboard, a government official said on Sunday.
The bus had been traveling overnight between Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province, to the port city of Karachi when it crashed into a pillar of a bridge and fell into the ravine, according to Dawna national newspaper.
Hamza Anjum, a government official, told reporters at the site of the accident that he believed the coach had been carrying 48 passengers, and that the driver may have fallen asleep while making the long-distance journey. The two cities are more than 360 miles from each other.
Mr. Anjum said three people who were on the bus were rescued after the crash, but one of them had died on the way to the hospital. He added that the bodies recovered from the wreckage were “beyond recognition” and that DNA tests would be needed to identify them.
Pakistan holds one of the world’s worst records for fatal traffic accidents. Local authorities blame poorly maintained highways and vehicles, as well as reckless driving with motorists disobeying rules, for the tens of thousands of such fatalities each year. A World Health Organization report in December 2018 cited more than 27,000 deaths annually in road accidents in Pakistan.
In November, 20 people were killed when a small bus fell into a deep ditch filled with floodwaters in southern Pakistan.