MUZAFFARABAD, June 9: As many as six persons, including two women, were killed and six others, including an army man, had gone missing as a public transport vehicle they were traveling in plunged into the violent Neelum River near here late on Friday night, police said.
The accident occurred after the Patikka-bound Suzuki pickup (MDRA-749), with 18 persons on board, was hit from the back by a dumper truck working for a Chinese company on treacherous Neelum valley road, some 9 kilometres northeast to the AJK capital.
The witnesses said that the activists of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) arrived on the spot immediately after the accident and launched difficult rescue operation as the killer river flows much below the road.
They retrieved six persons from the half sunk wreckage of ill-fated vehicle, who were relieved after treatment in a hospital here. By 3am on Saturday, six dead bodies were also fished out from the river.
They were identified as Imtiaz Ahmed, Mazhar Hussain, Mohammad Farhad, Mohammad Munir, Musarrat Bibi and Jamila Bibi.
On Saturday morning, the relatives of the missing persons blocked the Neelum Valley road to press the administration to resume rescue operation. The road blockade was ended after JuD team again arrived on the spot and restarted the operation.
However, none of the six missing persons could be recovered till the filing of this report. Four of them were identified as Warasat Shah, Munir Ahmed, Nadeem Gillani and Naik Azizur Rehman.
Of late, the level of River Neelum has risen to the dangerous level and the people swept away in its current have hardly been recovered alive.
Police sources said that there were remote chances of survival of the missing persons. The dumper truck was also damaged from the front and still stationed along the road. However, its driver had fled he scene. The police have registered a case and launched an extensive search to the arrest the escaped driver.—Tariq Naqash