Nine Pakistan Army soldiers lost their lives and another four suffered injuries after their vehicle plunged into a nullah in Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s (AJK) Bagh district in the wee hours of Sunday, according to a press release from the military’s media wing.
The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the incident happened in Bagh district’s Shujaabad while the soldiers were on routine military duty. It added that the injured were moved to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Rawalpindi while funeral prayers for the martyrs were offered at Mangla garrison.
The press release said Rawalpindi Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza and other military officials attended the funeral prayers.
The ISPR said the bodies will be sent back to their hometowns and buried with “full military honours”.
The truck was part of a military convoy but was ahead of other vehicles when it fell down the road shortly after the Shujaabad police post, according to post in-charge Muhammad Altaf.
He said the noise from the crash alerted nearby residents who rushed to the scene with mobile phones and lanterns to carry out rescue work in a very difficult situation.
He added that the convoy’s remaining vehicles and police personnel from the post also rushed to the site to join them.
“There were seven dead bodies and six injured soldiers, of whom only two were able to speak,” Altaf told Dawn.com.
He said he had immediately informed police control rooms in Bagh and Rawalakot to dispatch ambulances to the accident site.
Within less than an hour, all six injured soldiers were taken to the Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan Hospital, also known as CMH Rawalakot, he said.
AJK Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas expressed profound grief and sorrow over the tragic accident.
“They met this tragic accident in the line of their duty in the most difficult and rough terrains — a duty that makes us feel safe and secure in our homes. May Allah accept their martyrdom and grant speedy recovery to their injured colleagues. My condolences to the bereaved families and Pakistan Army,” he tweeted.