Local authorities stated that the fierce fire that broke out in the Salang Tunnel at the Salang Pass in northern Afghanistan has resulted in 19 deaths and 32 injuries.
Hekmatullah Shamim, the spokesperson for the governor of Parwan province of northern Afghanistan, said that the death toll and the number of injuries brought on by the deadly fire in the Salang tunnel have now hit 19 fatalities and 32 injuries, respectively. Shamim went on to say that as the death toll is still being calculated, the numbers could go up much further.
The head of Salang Tunnel Maintenance, Hafiz Mohammad Yaqoob, was cited by the government-run Bakhtar news agency in a report on the increase in the death toll in the Salang fire. Yaqoob said that the smoke-filled interior of the tunnel made it difficult to evacuate the injured, but efforts to save them were made.
On December 17, a Saturday night, an oil fuel tanker caught fire inside the tunnel at around eight o’clock after rollover inside the tunnel; domestic media reported that the fire was caused by technical problems within the oil tanker. According to sources, the fire from the oil tanker spread like a sea of flames to other vehicles inside the tunnel.
As of Sunday morning, December 18, there had been one fatality and more than 20 injuries. The tunnel’s roof was damaged by the fire, according to the Afghanistan National Radio Television, though the extent of roof collapse has not yet been determined.
Given the harshness of the fire and heat-related physical alterations and deformity, the authorities said that some of the victims retrieved from the tunnel cannot be positively identified. However, the burned remains indicate that children were also among those who perished in the fire.
The Salang Pass Tunnel is now open to traffic, according to the Bakhtar news agency which also reported that the fire was put out and people trapped inside the smoke-filled tunnel, were rescued.