ISLAMABAD: What should have been an exciting ride up the Margallas transformed into a terrible tragedy when a passenger van, cramped with 20 members of a family, burnt and crashed on the way to Daman-e-Koh, killing two women.
The family had come from Karachi to attend a wedding in Taxila, and decided to take a tour of the capital by renting a passenger van from Taxila.
With one male member, 12 women and seven children on board, their vehicle, a Hiace, was having trouble climbing the steep slopes up the hill and started heating up, according to Kohsar police Investigation Officer Almas Khan.
The driver then asked everyone onboard to disembark so the vehicle could climb and be checked at a plain resting area.
As soon as the vehicle began moving up it caught fire and began travelling downhill as the driver jumped out of the vehicle as soon as he saw the flames. The family members who were standing on the roadside were in the path of the enflamed van, which hit and engulfed 75-year-old Hasan Jan. Seeing this, Mehreen Tahir, 22, jumped in to save her family member only to be engulfed in the deadly flame herself.
Both women were trapped under the burning vehicle before they could be rescued, the police officer said.
“The vehicle first hit Jan and the flames grew higher after which Mehreen jumped in to rescue her but got trapped under the vehicle herself,” said Khan. “Both the victims and the vehicle are completely burnt.”
He said the family had hired the vehicle from Taxila, whose driver escaped the scene leaving the family with the horrible tragedy, he said.
“The vehicle has been burnt to ashes and even its number plate could not be obtained,” said the police officer, adding that further investigation is under way to determine the cause of the fire and to arrest the driver.
The charred bodies were taken to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences for medico-legal formalities, where family members were seen to be lost in a foreign land with no other relatives to lean on at this tragic time.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2014.
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