MULTAN: A man was killed and 30 people, including women and children, were injured in a swing fall incident at Jinnah Park in Multan late on Wednesday night.
Rescue teams were summoned that took the injured to Nishtar Hospital.
Doctors at Nishtar Hospital said that 16 people had received minor injuries in the incident. They were provided first aid and discharged. Twelve children, a man and a woman were taken to the emergency ward in a critical condition, said Dr Kaleem at Nishtar Hospital.
Doctors said those injured were aged 16 to 25. Ali (18), Mudassir (18), Hammad (16), Javed (18), Karamat (16), Sawab Khan (25), Arshad (15) and Aqeel (18) were among the injured. They were receiving treatment at the hospital. The next 48 hours are critical with regard to the condition of the injured, doctors said.
District Coordination Officer Nadir Chattha, too, visited the scene. Shah Rukne Alam police arrested eight people and registered a case against them. Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Finance Director Khurram Jameel, Supervisor Muhammad Akram, Engineer Chaudhry Liaqat and head operator Babar are among those arrested. Contractor Major (r) Anwar Shahzad, Muhammad Hasnain, Captain (r) Nabat Khattak and Engineer Mirza Zohaib have been nominated in the case, police said.
The district coordination officer has formed a three-member committee headed by City Assistant Commissionaire Farooq Dogar to investigate the matter. Dogar said that swing operators’ negligence had caused the incident.
The DCO said that the PHA was looking after Jinnah Park and it had leased the swing to a private contractor. He said that stern action would be taken against people responsible for the incident. He said the PHA would be questioned about the incident because it had issued fitness certificates to swings being operated at the park. He said the PHA had apparently issued a fitness certificate to an out-of-order swing. He said the district government would check all swings and issue them fitness certificates afresh.
PHA spokesperson Jalaluddin said the Multan Development Authority had leased out Jinnah Park. He said the park was handed over to the PHA recently. He said that swing operators had not fixed the seatbelts. He said that they had not operated the swing the right way and this had resulted in the accident. He said the PHA had sought a fitness certificate from the swing contractor before Eid. He said the contractor had submitted a fitness certificate issued by the Pakistan Engineering Council. He said it had been mentioned in the agreement that operators would be responsible for any untoward incident.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the incident and sought a report from the district administration.
A similar incident had taken place in Sahiwal district on Eidul Fitr on July 8 this year. Eleven people were injured in the incident. The district government had then imposed a ban on operation of such swings.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2016.