Sixteen passengers including, four Pakistan Army soldiers, were killed after a bus was crushed by landsliding on the Skardu Road in Gilgit-Baltistan on Sunday.
The martyred soldiers were identified as Suna Khan, Asif, Irshad and Farooq.
The ill-fated passenger van was traveling from Rawalpindi to Skardu when the incident took place at midnight at Tangoos, destroying the vehicle, Assitant Commissioner Rondau said in a statement.
Rescue teams and security personnel rushed to the scene and launched a relief operation to remove the rubble and retrieve passengers of the van under the debris.
The rescue operation has been completed and all dead bodies have been retrieved from the debris, according to the rescue sources. The rescuers removed 16 dead bodies from the debris.
Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan region Mir Afzal has expressed his sorrow over the tragic incident and expressed his condolences with the bereaved families.
The chief minister also directed the authorities to take steps to send the bodies of the deceased to their native areas.
According to SDPO Muhammad Hassan, bodies of the 16 people have been recovered. Among the deceased, six persons including the driver and conductor, have been identified so far.
Rondu Assistant Commissioner Miraj Alam said that 18 people were travelling in the bus coming from Rawalpindi, two of whom were dropped off at their stations. The bus was hit by a landslide in Tangoos area on the Jaglot-Skardu Road late Saturday, burying all passengers under the debris. Rescue work began in the morning, he added.
Alam said that Rescue 1122 and Frontier Works Organisation took part in the relief work. Later, in a statement, SDPO Hassan said that the rescue work has been completed. “Sixteen bodies have been recovered from the debris of the bus.”