Death toll rises to 26 in Pakistan shipbreaking blast

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Karachi: The death toll from an explosion and fire at a Pakistan ship-breaking yard last week has risen to 26, officials said Sunday.

More than 50 others were wounded in the incident when a gas cylinder exploded and started a fire inside an oil tanker at the Gadani yard in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

“Six more wounded from the Gadani shipyard have died, so the new toll is now 26,” Zulfiqar Hashmi, a local government official.

“One person died at home after being discharged from hospital while five others expired in hospital,” he said.

Muhammad Hashim, commissioner of Kalat region of which Gadani is a part, confirmed the new toll.

Pakistan has banned all activities at the ship-breaking yard in Gadani and a probe is underway.

A high-level committee formed by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to investigate the causes of the fire held its first meeting in the port city of Karachi Saturday and said it would finalise a report within a week.

Industrial accidents are common in Pakistan, with workplaces often forgoing basic safety measures and equipment in the absence of legislation to protect labourers.

A devastating fire at a textile factory in Karachi killed 255 people in 2012.

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