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MUZAFFARABAD: At least two persons died and another 17, some of them children, were injured when a Rawalpindi bound coach plunged into a ravine in the southern Bhimber district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Tuesday.

According to police, the coach that started its journey from the town of Baghsar in Samahni tehsil went out of the driver control while ascending a steep turn near Kund Barreli village at about 5:45am and fell into a ravine.

As a result, a passenger, identified as Mohammad Bashir died on the spot while another passenger identified as Ghulam Mohiyuddin succumbed to his wounds in the district headquarters hospital Bhimber.

A local journalist Saad Chaudhry told Dawn that there were 21 passengers in the vehicle including a serviceman who was also critically injured.

There were unconfirmed reports that he too had succumbed to his wounds in a military run health facility in Bhimber, he said.

Other injured were identified as Mohammad Arif, Rafique Ahmed, Hassan Shahzad, Khurshid Nawab, Shahzad Ahmed, Mohammad Usman, Mohammad Shabbir, Mohammad Zeeshan, Shahzad Kiyani, Sher Mohammad, Abdul Rehman, Arsalan Shahzad, Ans Nazar, Tufail Begum, Mohammad Muzammil, Ayesha Muzammil and Umman Muzammil.

Of them, five were reported to be in critical condition.

An injured passenger told the police that as the vehicle veered off course, the driver jumped outside from his door to safety.

However, the passenger tried to exculpate the driver saying “he did not dose off and that there was no fault of his.”

Police said they would soon hunt down the driver.

On Monday, six persons were killed and another five wounded in a similar road accident near Muzaffarabad.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2019