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MUZAFFARABAD: A family from Rawalpindi was struck by tragedy in the Neelum valley on Friday when three of its members were swept away by a violent stream, police and witnesses said.

The five-member family, comprising Khalid Hussain, his wife Nagina and three children – Talha, 20, Samia, 17, Sadia, 12 – was picnicking along Jagran Nullah located northeast of Muzaffarabad.

According to witnesses and police sources, as the family members started taking selfies a little inside the stream, the youngest member, Sadia, fell into the water and was swept away.

In a desperate attempt to rescue their sibling, Samia and Talha jumped into the stream one after the other, but they too could not withstand the force of the rapidly moving water and were swept away.

The sight of their drowning children compelled the hapless parents to leap into the water to save them, but the current carried them off as well. However, local residents jumped in and instantly retrieved the couple to safety.

Samia was also recovered alive from some distance, but did not survive. The other two children could not be fished out till the filing of this report and were believed to have died.

“Search for their bodies has been shelved after darkness spread, but it will be resumed tomorrow,” a police official told Dawn.

The couple, which originally belonged to Havelian in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, left for Rawalpindi in the afternoon for the burial of their elder daughter, the official said.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2017