Monday May 27, 2024

Over 50 perish in twin transport tragedies

By News Desk
January 30, 2023


By our correspondents

LASBELA/KOHAT: The death toll of the ghastly bus accident in Lasbela has reportedly risen to 41 as the said number of bodies were recovered from the ill-fated bus that careened into a ravine near Chinki stop in the Bela area of the Lasbela district Sunday morning, Geo News reported. While in another incident, 11 seminary students die when their boat capsized in Tanda Dam, Kohat due to overload on Sunday.

In the first incident, apart from the deaths, three injured people were taken out of the bus alive by the completion of a rescue operation at the site of the accident. One of the injured died shortly, while the two survivors were in serious condition.

The passenger bus with at least 48 on board was on its way to Karachi from Quetta when it fell into a ravine and caught fire.

Bela Assistant Commissioner Hamza Anjum Nadeem said that the rescue operation had been completed. Sharing the number of people on board the bus and casualties, Nadeem said that 40 bodies were taken out of the wrecked bus. He said that the bodies were unidentifiable. He said that DNA testing will be done for the identification of the deceased, while the injured passengers were being shifted to Civil Hospital, Lasbela. Earlier, Nadeem said that the rescue workers initially faced obstacles as it was dark in the morning due to the cold weather.

Meanwhile, the police said that the accident happened due to speeding as the bus went out of the driver’s control and was careened into the ravine. They said that teams of the fire brigade, rescue services and law-enforcement agencies’ personnel arrived at the site of the accident and launched a rescue operation.

The charred brown husk of the vehicle chassis smoked on a dry riverbed under the bridge on Sunday, according to video released by the provincial government.

A team of men used heavy machinery to move the twisted metal aside and pull out the burnt remains, which were then shrouded in white cloth. Head of the local rescue service Asghar Ramazan said the bus had been loaded with containers of oil. “When the bus fell down, it immediately caught fire,” he said. The oil “caused the fire to flare up so much that it was difficult to control”, he added.

“It is feared that the driver may have fallen asleep,” Anjum said, also mentioning the possibility he had been speeding during the long-distance trip. He spoke about investigating the causes of the accident.

President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Sunday expressed their deep grief and sorrow over loss of lives in a tragic bus accident in Lasbela, Balochistan.

They expressed their condolences to the bereaved families and prayed for the high ranks of the departed souls, they said in their separate press releases.

They also prayed for the early recovery of the injured people. The president stressed upon taking of practical steps to avert the occurrence of such incidents in the future. The prime minister directed for provision of all available medical facilities to the injured ones.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has expressed deep sorrow and grief over the road accident near Lasbela on Sunday where a passenger bus fell in a ravine and caught fire that resulted in killing of more than 41 people and several injured.

Saudi mission in Islamabad has issued a message of condolence on Sunday that was earlier made public by the Kingdom’s Foreign Ministry. The statement says that it expresses the deep sadness of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the death and injury of a number of people as a result of a public transport bus accident in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. “The ministry also expresses the Kingdom’s sincere condolence and sympathies with the families of the victims and government and with the people of Pakistan for this sad incident, while wishing a speedy recovery for the injured. The message has also been shared with the Foreign Office here.

In the second unfortunate incident, eleven students of a seminary drowned while 14 were still missing when a boat carrying over 30 children capsized in Tanda Dam here on Sunday.

Six of the drowned children were fished out alive by rescuers soon after the boat overturned in the deep water of the reservoir.

The news about the tragic incident spread like a jingle fire in the area prompting the police and military officials to rush to the spot to monitor the rescue operation. A large number of people also thronged the Tanda Dam within no time after they learnt about the incident of drowning of students.

Police officials said over 30 students of Madrassa Jamiatul Arabiatul Islamia located in Mirbashkhel area had come to the Tanda Dam for a picnic.

They said that the boat carrying over 30 students, most of them children, sank in the middle of a water reservoir when they were sailing from one side to the other drowning all of the children, including the sailor. They said the boat capsized due to overloading.

Soon after the incident, the teams of personnel of Rescue 1122 and police rushed to the spot and launched a rescue operation. The officials added that 17 students were fished out of the water and shifted to the hospital where 11 students were pronounced dead.

Some of the dead were identified as Irshad, Uzair, Salman, Ahmad, Majid, Abubakar, Waqas, Haris, Wahid and Noshaid while the name of the other one could not be ascertained.

The bodies were later sent to their respective native towns after post-mortem at the hospital. The rescued children, who were unconscious, were admitted to the hospital for medical treatment.

About 14 students, including the sailor, were still missing till filing this report.

The teams of divers of the army and local volunteers and Peshawar reached the Tanda Dam and launched a rescue operation to recover missing students and sailor.

Local sources said that the ages of victims ranged from 8 to 14 years and they had no experience of swimming. The students, led by the seminary administrator Shahid Noor, had come to the Tanda Dam for a picnic early in the day.

They said that the total number of students were 40 in which 15 had earlier sailed through the water to the other side but the boat sank when all the remaining children boarded it.

The sources added that the rescue operation was expedited and victims were being shifted to hospital.