5 killed, 13 injured as bus carrying tourists plunges into ravine in GB’s Diamer

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At least five people were killed and 13 others were injured on Sunday when a bus carrying tourists plunged into a ravine on the Karakoram Highway near the Thalichi area in Gilgit Baltistan’s Diamer district, police said.

Diamer Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Muhammad Ayaz confirmed the death toll and the number of injured to Dawn.com, adding that the deceased included three women, a child and a man.

He further said that the vehicle was heading to Gilgit from Lahore.

Local residents aided rescue efforts, following which the injured were shifted to a local hospital, the SSP said. He stated that the total number of passengers in the car was 18.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed deep grief and sorrow over the lives lost in the accident. He also ordered an inquiry to ascertain the facts leading to the fatal accident.

The premier directed the relevant authorities to undertake immediate relief activities, while also directing federal departments to lend their assistance.

He directed authorities to provide medical treatment to those injured and also prayed for their early recovery.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the accident.

He condoled the bereaved families of the bus passengers and also prayed for the early recovery of the injured.

The foreign minister further stressed the need for preparing a strategy to avert such incidents in the future.

Earlier this month, five tourists were killed and 13 were injured in two traffic accidents in GB’s Hunza — when a van fell into a ravine and another crashed into a mountain.

Last month, eight people, including two children, were killed and 17 others received injuries when a Datsun vehicle going to Chitral from Upper Dir plunged into a ravine.

The same month, nine people were killed while 18 others were injured after a coaster fell into a ravine in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Ramshackle highways, lax safety measures and reckless driving contribute to Pakistan’s dire road safety record.

Passenger buses are frequently crammed to capacity and seatbelts are not commonly worn or simply non-existent, meaning high death tolls from single-vehicle accidents are common.

According to World Health Organisation estimates, more than 27,000 people were killed on Pakistan’s roads in 2018.