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Monday May 20, 2024

18 pilgrims die as truck en route to Shah Noorani shrine falls into ditch

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the accident

By Our Correspondent
April 13, 2024
A screengrab taken from a video showing the truck that had fallen into the ditch in Balochistans Hub district on April 10, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/Geo News Live
A screengrab taken from a video showing the truck that had fallen into the ditch in Balochistan's Hub district on April 10, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/Geo News Live

HUB: A truck accident in Balochistan’s Hub district late Wednesday night claimed at least 18 lives and injured more than 50 after a vehicle carrying pilgrims to the Shah Noorani shrine fell into a ditch while taking a turn.

Earlier, during his visit to the Civil Hospital’s Trauma Centre to meet the injured, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah confirmed 17 deaths. The toll rose after one more injured passenger succumbed to his injuries. Shah added that at least 52 injured were brought to the hospital and 40 had been discharged so far.

“Five injured in the Trauma Center are on ventilators. As long as the injured are on the vent, their health will be critical,” said CM Murad.

The chief minister told journalists that two injured children are also under treatment at the National Institute of Child Health (NICH). He told journalists that most of the passengers, aboard the vehicle, were poor and worked as stone crushers.

Responding to a query about the cause of the accident, CM Murad said: “Our prime concern was to shift the people to hospitals and provide them treatment when the incident took place last night. The reasons behind the accident will be investigated by the Balochistan government, as it occurred within its jurisdiction.”

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the accident. The premier directed for the injured to be provided necessary medical treatment.

Karim Baksh, the truck driver who was also injured, was taken into custody by police, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Sakro Wajid Ali said while speaking with journalists outside the Edhi morgue in Karachi’s Sohrab Goth.

The police official confirmed the number of dead passengers, adding that the incident occurred at a turn during the drive. SDPO Sakro said: “More than 70 people had left for the pilgrimage from Makli’s Qasim Jokhio village.”

Social worker Saad Edhi informed journalists that the information about the accident was received by 11pm, while the rescue operation was completed within two hours. He said that the 17 dead bodies were first transferred to the Civil Hospital Hub, then to the Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth. He added that 35 injured were brought to the Civil Hospital in Karachi.

“The truck fell into a ditch near Shah Noorani. The exact time of the accident could not be known due to lack of [mobile network] signal,” he said, sharing details.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti also took notice of the incident, directing the district administration to transfer the injured to hospitals immediately. The spokesperson of the provincial government shared that an emergency was imposed in the Jam Ghulam Qadir Hospital Hub. He added that emergency instructions were sent to the commissioners of Kalat and Hub.

The spokesperson also shared that the CM asked the administration to contact the Sindh government to shift the critically injured to Karachi.

Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi expressed sympathy and condolences with the families affected by the incident. He also prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

The Shah Noorani shrine is located in a remote mountainous region about 200 kms away from Karachi.