updated 1/23/2011 11:11:26 AM ET 2011-01-23T16:11:26

A bus slammed into an oil tanker in southern Pakistan before dawn Sunday, setting off a blazing inferno that gutted both vehicles and killed 32 people, police said.

The accident reportedly occurred because the bus driver fell asleep and lost control of his vehicle, said Mohammad Farooq, local police chief in Jamshoro district where the accident took place. Passengers had twice asked the driver to stop the vehicle and rest to avoid an accident, he said.

The 32 dead included women and children, whose charred bodies were carried in white sheets to waiting ambulances, said Farooq. Nine people were also injured in the accident, which took place near the town of Nooriabad, he said.

Only a few young men were able to crawl out of the back of the burning bus and escape, one survivor told a local TV station. The rest were burned alive, he said.

Fatal road accidents are common in Pakistan, where public transport drivers are often poorly trained and work long hours. Roads are badly maintained, and there is widespread disregard for traffic rules

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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