RISE: 150 dead in Pakistan; boat sinks in Colombia; Trump positive on heath care

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Alerted by an announcement over a mosque’s loudspeaker that an overturned tanker truck had sprung a leak, scores of villagers raced to the scene with fuel containers Sunday to gather the oil. Then the wreck exploded, engulfing people in flames as they screamed in terror.

wire reports

Over 150 dead as overturned fuel truck explodes in Pakistan

BAHAWALPUR, Pakistan — Alerted by an announcement over a mosque’s loudspeaker that an overturned tanker truck had sprung a leak, scores of villagers raced to the scene with fuel containers Sunday to gather the oil. Then the wreck exploded, engulfing people in flames as they screamed in terror.

At least 153 men, women and children were killed, with dozens more in critical condition, hospital and rescue officials said.

“I have never seen anything like it in my life. Victims trapped in the fireball. They were screaming for help,” said Abdul Malik, a police officer who was among the first to arrive on the scene of horror in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

When the flames subsided, he said, “we saw bodies everywhere. So many were just skeletons. The people who were alive were in really bad shape.”

About 30 motorcycles that villagers had used to rush to the site of the highway accident lay charred nearby along with cars, witnesses said. Local news channels showed black smoke billowing skyward and army helicopters taking away the injured.

Dozens missing after tourist boat sinks in Colombia

GUATAPE, Colombia — A tourist boat packed with about 160 passengers for the holiday weekend capsized Sunday on a reservoir near the Colombian city of Medellin, leaving at least six people dead and 31 missing, officials said.

Rescuers including firefighters and air force pilots in helicopters searched for survivors at the Guatape reservoir where El Almirante ferry sank. A flotilla of recreational boats and jet skis rushed to the scene, pulling people from the boat as it went down and avoiding an even deadlier tragedy.

Dramatic videos circulating on social media show the turquoise and yellow trimmed party boat rocking back and forth as people crawled down from a fourth-floor roof as it sank in a matter of minutes. Survivors described hearing a loud explosion near the men’s bathroom that knocked out power a few minutes after the boat began its cruise around the giant lake. As water flooded on board, pressure built and people were sucked under by the sinking ship.

“Those on the first and second floors sank immediately,” survivor Lorena Salazar told local media. “All we could do was scream and call for help….it was completely chaotic.”

Trump: Not ‘that far off’ from passing health overhaul

WASHINGTON — Making a final push, President Donald Trump said he doesn’t think congressional Republicans are “that far off” on a health overhaul to replace “the dead carcass of Obamacare.” Expressing frustration, he complained about “the level of hostility” in government and wondered why both parties can’t work together on the Senate bill as GOP critics expressed doubt over a successful vote this week.

It was the latest signs of high-stakes maneuvering over a key campaign promise, and the president signaled a willingness to deal.

“We have a very good plan,” Trump said in an interview broadcast Sunday. Referring to Republican senators opposed to the bill, he added: “They want to get some points, I think they’ll get some points.”

Trump’s comments come amid the public opposition of five Republican senators so far to the Senate GOP plan that would scuttle much of former President Barack Obama’s health law.

UK: All samples from high-rise towers fail fire safety tests

LONDON — The list of high-rise apartment towers in Britain that have failed fire safety tests grew to 60, officials said Sunday, revealing the mounting challenge the government faces in the aftermath of London’s Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

All of the buildings for which external cladding samples were so far submitted failed combustibility tests, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said. As of late Sunday, that includes 60 towers from 25 different areas of the country— double the figure given a day earlier.

The number of buildings at risk is likely to grow as owners and local officials provide more samples for safety tests.

The national testing was ordered after an inferno engulfed Grenfell Tower in west London on June 14. The tower’s cladding — panels widely used to insulate buildings and improve their appearance — was believed to have rapidly spread that blaze, which killed at least 79 people.

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