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Thursday, June 13, 2024  
06 Dhul-Hijjah 1445  

Women, children among 20 dead as Hunza-bound bus falls into ravine in Chilas

It was a Hunza-bound passenger bus
Locals from Chilas gather after a passenger bus falls into ravine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chilas on May 3, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Locals from Chilas gather after a passenger bus falls into ravine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chilas on May 3, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Locals from Chilas gather after a passenger bus falls into ravine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chilas on May 3, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
Locals from Chilas gather after a passenger bus falls into ravine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Chilas on May 3, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News

At least 20 were killed, including women and children, when a passenger van fell into a ravine from the Karakoram Highway in Gilgit Baltistan’s Chilas on Friday, said rescue officials. At least 21 passengers were wounded.

It was a Hunza-bound bus which started its journey from Rawalpindi but fell into a ditch.

The northern region is famous for its serenity and high mountains, but such incidents have been reported in the past as well. Many people have blamed the dangerous roads, landslides, lack of street lights, and reckless driving for the accidents.

Over 30 passengers were on the bus, officials said as rescue teams reached the site of the accident. The government officials declared an emergency in the Chilas hospital.

Gilgit Baltistan Gulbar Khan was grieved over the incident and called for immediate relief for the wounded.

 A combination of two stills from a video shows locals around the passenger bus and rescue workers shifting the casualties from the site on May 3, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News
A combination of two stills from a video shows locals around the passenger bus and rescue workers shifting the casualties from the site on May 3, 2024. Screengrab via Aaj News

“Suddenly I heard a noise from the back tyre of the bus, the driver tried to control it and turn the vehicle towards the mountain but the bus lost its control and we heard a loud noise,” one of the survivors said.

A passenger said that he was asleep until people started shouting. “When I woke up, I was lying near the river,” he said.

It was a Marcopolo Express bus coming from Rawalpindi, said SP Shehryar and added that it met an accident before Buner Das. “It was around 300 metres height from where the bus fell.”

Teams of police, Rescue 1122, GB Scouts, FC, locals, and a non-governmental organisation were working in the rescue mission.

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The accident occurred at 5:30, according to a government official.

Last year, six people were killed when a vehicle fell into a ravine from the Karakoram Highway near the Thalichi area in Gilgit Baltistan’s Diamer district. All the passengers belonged to Karachi, Sindh, the southern part of Pakistan.

According to Deputy Commissioner Fayaz Ahmed Khan, the accident occurred in an area 20km away from Chilas. He confirmed the death toll to the media.

Khan was of the view that the accident might have occurred due to overspeeding or losing control or a turn on the track.

“At least two out of the total five critically injured patients have been shifted to Gilgit via road for treatment,” he said and added that the remaining would be shifted to the city through a helipad provided by FCNA.

The deceased were identified as

  • Muhammad Fahim, a resident of Manshera
  • Kathori, a resident of Jaglot
  • Gul Sher, a resident of Jaglot
  • Shahbaz Khan, a resident of Rahimabad, Gilgit
  • Aijaz Hussain, a resident of Gupis-Yasin
  • Khushi Muhammad, a Frontier Works Organization employee
  • Fida Hussain, a resident of Skardu
  • Najam Khan, a resident of Gilgit
  • Mirza Islam Baig, a resident of Gupis-Yasin
  • Abu Zar, a resident of Diamer
  • Muhammad Amin, a resident of Narowal.
  • Waris Ali, a resident of Rawalpindi
  • Shafa, a resident of Hunza
  • Fakhr, a resident of Manshera
  • Valiza, a resident of Sikandarabad
  • Sania Zehra, a resident of Sikandarabad
  • Fakhr Alam, the Naib Subedar of the ILI Centre
  • Zakaria, a resident of Gojal
  • Imran, a soldier

“The local Ulema (Muslim leader) announced the news of the accident from the loudspeaker of the mosque and urged the people to donate blood for the injured,” Azmat Shah, a police official in the city told AFP.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was grieved by the loss of lives and conveyed his sympathies to the bereaved families.

In a statement, he directed that the injured be provided with “every possible medical treatment”.

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Gilgit Baltistan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Hunza

chilas

accident