KARACHI: A couple and their four minor children travelling in a cab drowned in flooded Malir River on link road in Memon Goth on Wednesday evening after heavy flow of water swept away the vehicle, officials and witnesses said on Thursday.
The car was found floating on Thursday morning and their occupants missing. Bodies of two siblings were recovered, causing fear that the five other occupants of the car might have drowned.
Memon Goth police said that the cab (BGV-765, Toyota Corolla) in which seven people were travelling had submerged in Malir River on Wednesday at 8:30pm.
The police added that the car had been pulled out from the river while search for the missing occupants was under way.
Inundation ravages Gadap town, many other localities; six more people die in rain-related incidents
The drowned persons were identified as the couple Mohammed Zeeshan Ansari and Rabia and their four children namely Hamna, Ebad, Mohammed Moosa and Ayan and their driver, Abdul Rehman.
An Edhi Foundation spokesperson said the body of Mohammed Moosa, 10, had been fished out in the afternoon. In the evening, the body of Hamna, seven, was found.
Edhi Foundation head Faisal Edhi and his son Saad Edhi were personally supervising the rescue operation since Wednesday night, added the spokesperson.
Memon Goth SHO Ateeq Rehman said they received information on Madadgar-15 that one family travelling in a car had fallen in the Nadi (river) at link road at Dumloti-8 and rescue efforts were launched. He said when the water level receded to some extent on Thursday, the car surfaced at Bakhshani Goth in the river, but the vehicle was without any person.
The SHO said the family had come from Hyderabad to attend a marriage ceremony in Karachi. They were returning to their home in Hyderabad on Wednesday evening when they were reportedly drowned.
A resident of Dumloti-6, Engineer Amjad Jan Brohi, told Dawn that the bridge of Malir River on the link road (which connects National Highway with Superhighway (now Motorway-9) through Gulshan-i-Hadeed had been in a dilapidated condition for long and was not being used by commuters.
The authorities have built a causeway, which is being used by motorists.
However, because of heavy rains which continued on the outskirts of Malir for several hours on Wednesday, the causeway was overflowing when the heavy flow of water swept away the car along with its occupants.
The residents said that rescue teams were facing difficulties in tracing the drowned persons because there were deep ditches caused by of gravel and sand lifting from the bed of Malir River by the ‘reeti bajri mafia’ besides there were bushes all over the area. They feared that the family members might have been stuck up in the bushes or the deep ditches in the river.
Saad Edhi told Dawn that they were facing difficulties in tracing the drowned persons because it was a vast area besides heavy flow of water.
Relatives complain of slow pace of rescue operation
Relatives of the drowning victims while speaking to the media complained of slow pace of the rescue operation.
Mohammed Danish, a maternal nephew of drowned Mohammed Zeeshan Ansari, said that his uncle along with his wife and four children was returning home in Hyderabad after the marriage ceremony in a rented car.
He said because of the rain, they travelled on the link road where the car was swept away by heavy flow of water.
He said his uncle had hired a cab and advised the driver not to use the link road as it was dangerous.
Ubaidullah, brother of the drowned driver, Abdul Rehman, said his brother was returning home in Hyderabad when the family hired his cab. The driver had made a phone contact with his wife on Wednesday at 6pm saying that he might reach Hyderabad within two-and-a-half hours.
“Rescue operation is very slow,” complained Ubaidullah.
He suggested that Pakistan Navy rescue teams be called in. He believed that the water in the river receded and. as such, the rescue efforts should be expedited. He said only Edhi volunteers were helping in the rescue operation.
Saad Edhi told the media that because of heavy flow of water; the cab was taken far away, which was recovered a distance of around three kilometres from the reported place of drowning incident.
Similarly, the boy’s body was found at a distance of four kilometres from the site. He said with the help of boats, Edhi divers had launched a rescue operation spread over a radius of three-four kilometres.
Flows from three seasonal waterways enter Malir River
Malir SSP Irfan Bahadur told Dawn that heavy rains had lashed Malir and adjoining areas on Wednesday and continued for several hours. He said three seasonal rivers namely Bazaar Nadi, Kathor Nadi and Ansari Bridge Nadi were overflowing with rainwater and the water of all the three seasonal rivers had entered Malir River, compounding the problem.
He recalled that four-five villages were evacuated in Gadap as rainwater was seen overflowing even upper underpass of Bahria Town Karachi.
However, this tragic incident of drowning of car occurred in the link road. The SSP said the area people asked the family not to go there, but perhaps they did not realise the gravity of the situation. He said so far, bodies of two children had been recovered. Mr Bahadur added that Pakistan Navy had also joined the rescue efforts.
Man feared drowned
A man, Mohammed Khan Jokhio, drowned in Malir Nadi while crossing it on Thursday morning on a motorbike and feared to have died, according to local residents.
Sindh Minister for Social Welfare and in-charge of rain emergency Malir Sajid Jokhio along with DC Malir Irfan Salam visited Malir River at the link road where the car had drowned.
The minister talked to Pakistan Navy officials and Faisal Edhi for recovering the missing family.
The provincial minister also asked the rescue teams to recover the body of a drowned man.
Mr Jokhio asked the administration to remain alert and ordered shifting of the people living on the banks of the river and asked the residents to cooperate with the administration to this effect.
Meanwhile, the rescue team recovered two persons safely who were stuck up in heavy flow of water in Malir River at Memon Goth, said the Edhi Foundation spokesperson.
Five more die in rain-related incidents
Five more people had died in rain-related incidents in the metropolis on Thursday, according to police, hospital and rescue services.
Police Surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed said Mohammed Murad, 35, suffered an electric shock at under-construction building near Defense View whose body was brought at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).
In another incident, a 7-year-old girl, Roshni Sunny, died by electric shock inside her home in Zia Colony, Korangi, whose body was brought to the JPMC.
The Super Market police said that Sahib Shah, 14, had drowned in Gujar Nala in Liaquatabad. His body was recovered and shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for legal proceedings.
A 15-year-old Noor Zaman died by electric shock at Nia Nazimabad near Ibrahim Masjid, according to Manghopir police. He was working at a shop when he suffered an electric shock. The body was shifted to the ASH.
A nine-year old boy, Ali Dost died when he received an electric shock in a street near his home in Kohi Goth, Landhi on Thursday evening, according to Edhi Foundation spokesperson. The body was shifted to a nearby hospital.
Young mother drowned while saving two minor children
In another tragic incident in Gadap Town, a young mother drowned while saving her two minor children on Wednesday.
The residents said that heavy flow of rainwater coming from hills had inundated several villages in Gadap Town, including Mir Khan Gondar Goth where bikes and animals were seen floating in the water. Residents of 50 homes also rushed for their safety.
A 22-year-old woman, Anam, tried to save her two minor sons from drowning. She managed to rescue her sons by shifting them to roof of one of the homes in the village. In the meantime, heavy flow of water took her away. Her body was recovered on Wednesday night.
Malir SSP Irfan Bahadur said the village was evacuated and the woman and her two children were drowned inside the home.
He said the both minor children were saved but unfortunately, their mother could not be saved. He described it as another tragic incident after the car incident in Malir.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2022