MUZAFFARABAD: At least 22 people were killed on Thursday when a passenger bus plunged into a river in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
The accident took place in Garhi Dupatta village, 22 kilometres east of Muzaffarabad, senior local administration official administrator Chaudhry Imtiaz said.
“Rescue teams have recovered 22 bodies from the river,” Imtiaz said. The driver lost control of the bus while overtaking a car and fell in the flooded Jhelum river, he said.
A senior police official, Musa Khan, confirmed the casualties and said that divers were still searching for remaining bodies. The bus was carrying 60 passengers and was on its way from Muzaffarabad to Peshawar. According to rescue teams that reached the scene immediately after the accident, as many as 30 bodies were swept away in the river as water flow is very fast, following the recent floods in the area. Forty-eight people were killed in the flooding last week.
The rescuers were able to save the lives of five people and used heavy cranes to pull out the structure of the bus from the river.
Pakistan has one of the world’s worst records for fatal traffic accidents, blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2010.
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