21 killed as bus plunges into ravine near Chilas

Published May 4, 2024
RESCUE teams search for the bodies and the injured at the Indus River bank.—Photo by the writer
RESCUE teams search for the bodies and the injured at the Indus River bank.—Photo by the writer

GILGIT: At least 21 passengers, including three women, were killed and 21 others injured when a Hunza-bound bus plunged into a ravine along the Indus River near Chilas in the early hours of Friday, according to officials.

Diamer Deputy Commiss­ioner Fayyaz Ahmed told the media that the bus, owned by a private company, was coming from Rawalpindi. It was travelling on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) when the driver lost control at a turn near the Gunar Farm area in Chilas at 5:30am. The bus overturned and careened into a 300-feet-deep ravine and landed on the bank of Indus River.

There were 41 people on the bus.

Of the 21 people killed, 15 were from Skardu, Gilgit, Nagar, Hunza, Ghizer and Diamer; three from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; two from Punjab; and one from Balochistan. Some injured passengers hailed from Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Diamer DC says driver lost control while taking a sharp turn; 10 victims moved to Gilgit in critical condition

The deceased were identified as bus driver Mohammad Faheem, Fakhar Zaman, Khushi Mohammad, Kathori, Gul Sher, Shahbaz Khan, Najam Khan, Imranullah, Ijaz Hussain, Mirza Islam, Fida Hussain, Abu Zar, Mohammad Ameen, Waris Ali, Shafaa, Zakria, Waliza, Saniya Zehra, Wasad Ali, Kazim, and Abdul Ghaffar.

The personnel of district administration, Rescue 1122, GB Police, GB Scouts and locals took part in the rescue operation and shifted the bodies and injured to hospital.

According to the deputy commissioner, ten injured passengers, who were in critical condition, were shifted to the Provincial Headquarters Hospital in Gilgit through a Pakistan Army helicopter.

GB government spokesman Faizullah Faraq said the region’s chief minister had declared an emergency at the Chilas hospital.

Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan directed the administration and rescue teams to provide timely medical aid to the injured.

Mr Faraq added that the CM and other government officials visited the hospital and inquired after the injured.

The chief minister also ordered a full investigation into the accident.

Condolences

President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, GB Governor Syed Mehdi Shah, the CM, cabinet ministers, Opposition Leader Kazim Mesum and leaders of other political parties expressed sorrow over the accident and expressed condolences to the victims’ families.

The president and PM prayed for the quick recovery of the injured and directed the authorities to provide them with the best possible medical treatment, APP added.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2024

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