QUETTA / DERA ISMAIL KHAN: At least 20 people were killed and 13 others injured, some of them seriously, when a Quetta-bound passenger coach fell into a ravine in the mountainous range of Danasar, a border town between Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Sunday morning.
The ill-fated coach was coming from Islamabad carrying 33 passengers, including the driver who was also killed. The incident took place on Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan Highway in the Mughal Kot area of tehsil Darazinda in D.I. Khan district in the early hours of morning when most of the passengers were sleeping.
According to officials, the road in the Danasar mountainous area got slippery due to heavy rain as mud accumulated on it. The driver lost control over the coach due to speeding and it plunged into the ravine. Initial investigations suggested that the bus skidded off the road due to rain.
“The coach fell into 300-foot-deep ravine which was carrying flood water,” Ejaz Jaffar, Deputy Commissioner of Sherani, told Dawn over phone.
Victims coming home to celebrate Eid with families
A senior official of Rescue 1122 at Zhob-D.I. Khan Highway said the coach turned turtle after falling from the road. “Most of the passengers lost their lives as they were stuck in the coach wreckage which took time to recover and shift them to hospitals. Bodies were retrieved after cutting the body of the ill-fated coach,” the official said, adding that the bodies and the injured were shifted to hospitals in Zhob and Mughal Kot.
“We have received a list of 20 people who lost their lives in the incident,” the Sherani deputy commissioner said, adding that all the bodies would be brought to Zhob district hospital for handing them over to the hairs after identification.
The incident, he said, took place due to speeding on a slippery road in the mountainous area.
“The victims belonged to Zhob, Loralai, Quetta, Qila Saifullah, Ziarat, Pishin and Kuchlak in Balochistan and Haripur and Mansehra of KP. They were coming their native areas to celebrate Eidul Azha with families,” Ejaz Jaffar said, adding that five students were also among the dead, who were returning to spend summer vacations with their families. They were studying in different universities and colleges in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The local administration identified 19 of the 20 victims as bus driver Yaar Mohammad (Loralai), Mohammad Nawaz and Sarwar Khan (Zhob), Zulfiqar (Lahore), Ibrahim and Syed Atiq-ur-Rehman (Kuchlak), Habibullah and Asmatullah (Qila Saifullah), Bahauddin, Ameer Hamza and Abdul Waris (Pishin), Noor Shah, Alauddin and Idrees (Ziarat), Harmani and Azizullah (Haripur), Afghan refugee Hazrat (Mansehra), Fida Muhammad (Qila Abdullah) and Anwar-ul-Haq (Quetta). One body could not be identified.
The injured included Aurangzeb, Mubarak, Abdul Haq, Nazer, Shahidullah, Abdul Ghani, Naveed, Abdul Fateh, Sardar Mohammad and Shah Mohammad.
Balochistan acting Governor Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali, Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo and Adviser to the CM on Home Department Mir Ziaullah Langove expressed deep sorrow over the tragic incident and loss of precious lives.
They expressed sympathies to the grieving families.
It was the second tragic incident on the Zhob-D.I. Khan Highway in less than a month. On June 8, a passenger van fell into a ravine near Zhob, which claimed the lives of 23 people, including nine members of a family.
Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2022