At least 10 people were killed and 40 were injured as two buses collided head on and caught fire at Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi on Dhaka-Sylhet highway yesterday afternoon.
The fire fueled by leaking compressed natural gas from one of the buses engulfed the vehicles minutes after the impact near Kararchar around 5:10pm, reports our Narsingdi correspondent.
Four people were burnt to death inside the buses. Another person died on the spot and the other five died at Narsingdi Sadar Hospital and Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
Sources said a coach heading towards Dhaka from Brahmanbaria collided with a minibus going towards Monohardi upazila and one of the buses first caught fire and burnt both the vehicles as locals were trying to rescue the victims.
Several rescuers suffered burn injuries.
Injured rescuer and eyewitness to the accident Wahid Miah, 38, told The Daily Star at DMCH that he heard a crash and ran to rescue the victims.
He said he and other rescuers got many passengers out of the minibus through the windows. He said there was a passenger stuck behind the driver's seat of the minibus and when they tried to get him out, the bus caught fire. The fire then engulfed the coach.
Wahid lives very close to the spot.
Another eyewitness, Jahidul Islam, said when they were rescuing the passengers, they heard a hissing sound.
Three fire engines reaching the spot brought the fire under control in half an hour.
Vehicular movement on the highway was halted for about two hours.
The identities of five of the dead could be confirmed: Sohana Ahmed, 24, of Kendua in Kishoreganj; Majnu Mia, 50, of Hairmara in Raipura of Narsingdi; Hannan, 50, Ramiz Uddin, 65, and Rizia Begum, 45.
Hannan, Ramiz and Rizia died at DMCH.
They were taken to DMCH along with 12 other people injured in the accident, said Assistant Sub-Inspector Haider Ali of DMCH police camp.
Two of the injured were admitted to the burn unit, he said.
Deputy Assistant Director Mizanur Rahman of Fire Service and Civil Defence said they had recovered the charred remains of a person from the driver's seat of the coach.
At least 56 people were killed in road accidents during the three-day Eid holidays last month.
Bangladesh has one of the highest road accident fatality rates, according to World Bank statistics.
Police have seized the vehicles involved and filed a case with Shibpur Police Station.