Tarbela Lake returns another body of boat tragedy victim

Remains of another 15 victims of July 2019 still missing


APP March 12, 2021

HARIPUR:

Tarbela Lake spewed another body of the 2019 boat-tragedy victim on Thursday after four decomposed cadavers were found floating on Tuesday.

The decomposed body of the ill-fated passenger of the boat that capsized in the Tarbela Lake near Keh village of Haripur on July 3, 2019, was found from the shallow water with hundreds of thousands of rupees packed in the plastic shopper.

With five out of 20 missing bodies found, heirs were hopeful of finding the rest. The identification of the recovered bodies has yet to be finalised. Among the four corpses found on Tuesday, one was identified by service card as Master Durre Iman, a local school teacher.

At the time of the accident, the overloaded boat with 40 passengers and some cattle on board was heading from Shangla towards Haripur in the Indus River when it capsized near Barg Dakhli Keh village due to the stormy weather. Most of the passengers were from Kala Dhaka. Some 16 people were rescued while four bodies, including three children, were recovered from the lake. The search operation for 20 other passengers continued for several weeks.

The Tarbela Dam’s reservoir was filled to the brim in the monsoon season when the overloaded boat was caught in a whirlpool and sank within few minutes.

Rescuers were dispatched as soon as the incident was reported but the difficult mountainous terrain delayed the response. Divers from Peshawar, Mardan and other adjoining areas were called in. Two helicopters and divers of the Pakistan Army are also participating in the operation. According to reports Pakistan Army had dispatched 24 SSG deep-sea divers to the scene.

On that day, the 10-hour long rescue operation was suspended due to low visibility later the operation went for days to recover bodies only.

Ever since that day in 2019 summer, the heirs of the missing people were in doubt whether they were alive or dead.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2021.

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