ISLAMABAD: Eleven passengers, including four foreign tourists, on a boat were injured as a result of a blast conducted by the Frontier Works Organization (FWO), a wing of the Pakistan Army engaged in work at the Attabad Lake spillway late Tuesday evening, sources told The Express Tribune from Hunza by telephone.
The incident took place around 9:30pm when a boat carrying over 16 passengers, including three Koreans from China, one Japanese woman and seven Punjab University students, from the valley of Gojal to Hunza reached the spillway.
The FWO was carrying out blasts for the construction of a road near the landslide site. A landslide had hit the area in January 2010, blocking the river course and creating a 23 kilometre lake.
Sources said that the passengers were hit by stones which had fallen on the boat after the scheduled blasts.
The injured were shifted to Aliabad hospital, where a majority of them were said to be out of danger.
Official sources told The Express Tribune that the local administration had banned the movement of boats and people for two day to conduct the blasts, but some boat owners were still transporting passengers to make quick money.
An official also told the media that action will be taken against the boat operator who had violated the ban and had put the lives of passengers in danger.
The FWO has been working on the spillway since January 4, 2010 to drain out water that has submerged three villages upstream and an over 20km portion of the Karakoram Highway, suspending trade and tourism between Pakistan and China.
The delay in widening the spillway and restoring the link between the lower part of Hunza and upper Gojal valley has hit life hard, crippling the economy of the valley.
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