At least 26 individuals were killed and a dozen others were injured in a passenger bus accident on Babusar Pass in the Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan early on Sunday, said spokesperson for the GB government Faizullah Firaq.
Firaq said that the deceased and injured, which included Pakistan Army troops, were shifted to the district headquarters hospital in Chilas and an emergency was declared at the DHQ hospital.
He added that the process of identifying the deceased was underway.
In a rescue operation carried out by the Pakistan Army, the injured were shifted to Combined Military Hospital, Gilgit by armed forces' aviation helicopters, the military's media wing said in a statement. The bodies of the dead were also taken to CMH, Gilgit, the statement added.
According to Diamer police spokesperson Mohammad Wakeel, the passenger bus, belonging to a private company, had departed from Skardu yesterday night for Rawalpindi.
He said that early Sunday morning, the driver lost control of the bus and it collided against a mountain. It is not clear yet how the driver lost control of the vehicle.
An official in the DC office of Diamer, Raja Ashfaq, said that most the of deceased and injured are from Skardu.
Ashfaq said that Rescue 1122 and police teams had been dispatched to the site of the accident. Additionally, he said that a helicopter has been requested from the GB government in order to transport the bodies to Skardu following identification. Two helicopters are expected to reach shortly.
Meanwhile, GB government spokesperson Firaq said that the injured were being shifted to Gilgit in a helicopter. He expressed his gratitude with the force commander for providing a Pakistan Army helicopter for the mission, adding that an ambulance of the Army was also taking part in the rescue operation.
The Babusar Pass road, frequently used by tourists, remains open from the end of June to October every year. It then remains closed following heavy snowfall at Babusar Top.
Additional reporting by Naveed Siddiqui.