TAXILA: Eleven passengers were killed and 35 others injured on Monday when a Mardan-bound bus carrying people looking forward to celebrating Eid in their hometowns and villages plunged into a ditch on Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway near Burhan interchange.
A woman and an infant were among the dead. Most of the dead hailed from Mardan and Swabi districts.
According to motorway police, the bus coming from Lahore veered off the road when the driver lost control during an attempt to overtake a car.
The bodies were removed to Hassanabdal’s Tehsil Headquarters Hospital while the injured were admitted to hospitals in Hassanabdal, Taxila, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Sixteen of the injured were in a critical condition.
As soon as word got around about the accident, volunteers rushed to the hospitals and established blood donation camps. They also made SOS calls through social media for blood donations.
According to doctors at the Hassanabdal hospital, most of the wounded suffered from head injuries and broken limbs.
Some of the dead were identified as Ishfaq Ali, Saleem Khan, Suleman Khan, Waqas, Kamran, Mohammad Rauf, Hameeda Bibi and Haroon Khan.
“I was going with my family to celebrate Eid in my native village near Mardan. I was jolted out of my sleep by a big bang. I can’t recall what followed as I found myself in hospital,” Ajmal Khan, an injured, told newsmen at the hospital in Hassanabdal.
“I had taken 10 days’ leave to celebrate Eid with my family and was keen to be home before Monday midnight, but my excitement turned sour as now I am accompanying the body of my wife to her native village near Swabi,” said another injured patient.
Khalid Hamdani, Attock’s District Police Officer, visited the scene of the accident late in the night and allowed the authorities concerned to requisition ambulances from other parts of the district.
He also ordered establishment of an emergency blood donation camp at district police lines to provide blood to the critical patients.
Gloom descended on the hospital as relatives of the dead and the injured rushed there after learning about the accident.
The rescue operation was continuing when this report was filed late in the night.
Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021