16 feared dead in PaK mishap

At least 12 persons on board a vehicle that plunged into Neelum River on Friday night in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) were still missing, as so far only four bodies could be found despite persistent efforts by rescuers, officials said on Saturday.
16 feared dead in PaK mishap
Representational Pic

At least 12 persons on board a vehicle that plunged into Neelum River on Friday night in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) were still missing, as so far only four bodies could be found despite persistent efforts by rescuers, officials said on Saturday.

Another four were recovered alive with minor wounds.

The vehicle, which had set off for Muzaffarabad from Kel in the upper belt of Neelum valley, fell into the icy river from its right bank near Ghora Dhakki, some 41 kilometres northeast of here, at about 6:45 p.m. allegedly due to failure of brakes.

Apart from four survivors, including the conductor and a tourist from Lahore who fell onto the road, the rescuers also found bodies of three women on Friday night.

Another body of a man was found early on Saturday from the composite dam of Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, which is located one kilometre ahead of the accident site.

The deceased were identified as Mehrun Nisa, her police constable son Shafqat Hussain, Hamida Bibi and her daughter Sakina.

Witnesses said the vehicle first hit a roadside wall and then veered to the left and fell into the river, flowing more than 500 feet below the road.

Rescuers from army, police, Rescue-1122 services and a charity linked with Jamaat-ud-Dawa faced a great deal of problems in climbing down the precipitous cliff in total darkness, following which some of them used rafts to reach to the wreckage from the left bank of river.

However, rescue efforts were suspended after midnight, only to be resumed in the wee hours of Saturday.

Though the wreckage was pulled towards the left bank of river, but there were no bodies in it, SSP Riaz Bukhari told this correspondent.

He said all police posts right up to the Mangla Dam had been alerted to keep a vigil for the bodies.

SHO Panjgran police station Syed Wajahat Kazmi identified the missing persons as Faisal (driver), Rashid Mahmood, Zahid, Mohammad Nasim, Syed Altaf Hussain Shah, Idrees, Saghir Shah, Tufail, Mubashar, his wife Sadaf and brother Tayyab (residents of Lahore Cantt) and Mohammad Alam (a soldier).

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