27 killed in Babusar Pass bus crash


10 Pak Armymen among dead, 12 of 15 injured in critical condition; Bus was heading to Rawalpindi from Gilgit; Aviation copters evacuate injured to CMH Gilgit; Bus crashed into mountainside on Shahrah-e-Kaghan
Our Correspondent
At least 27 people, including 10 Pakistan Army soldiers, were killed and more than 15 wounded on Sunday when a passenger bus rammed into a mountain in Babusar Pass after its brakes failed on a winding mountain road.
According to police, the passenger bus was travelling from Skardu to Rawalpindi when it crashed into a mountain while making turn at Naran’s Gati Das area, killing dozens and injuring several aboard.
Police initially had confirmed that 26 people were killed in the accident but the death toll rose to 27 after a critically-wounded person succumbed to injuries in a hospital in Balakot.Rescue teams were having difficulty in reaching the difficult-to-access area, which is why a helicopter was dispatched to shift the wounded to the CMH Gilgit hospital, where an emergency was declared. Among the injured were women and eight children as well. Those who were identified included Wajid Ali, Majid Ali, Abdul Rasheed, Jawad, Haseena, Zeeshan, Yasmeen, Muhammad Ali, Fida Hussain, Imran, and Usman. Gilgit-Baltistan government spokesperson Faizullah Faraq confirmed that 12 of the 15 passengers were in critical condition and that most of the people in the accident hailed from Skardu and other Baltistan districts.Separately, the Inter-Services Public Relations said Pakistan Army troops undertook the rescue and relief operation for the unfortunate bus accident at Babusar Top.“Pakistan Army aviation helicopters have evacuated injured to CMH Gilgit for medical treatment,” the ISPR said. The bodies, including those of the 10 soldiers who lost their lives, were also shifted to CMH Gilgit, the media’s military wing added.
The bus was heading to Rawalpindi with around 40 passengers, 16 of whom were Pakistan Army personnel.
Officials said the bus – which was operated by a private transport company – crashed into a mountainside on Shahrah-e-Kaghan at a location between Geeti-Das and Babusar Top.
Rasheed Arshad, a spokesman for the Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister, confirmed that 26 bodies, among them women and children, have been retrieved from the wreckage.
The government official said an emergency response helpline (05815920200) has been activated to assist the affected families.
Shahrah-e-Kaghan up to Babusar Top was reopened for traffic in mid-June after eight months. It had been closed for traffic after heavy winter snowfall. The route presents the quickest road means to travel to Gilgit-Baltistan from Islamabad.
According to Diamer police spokesperson Mohammad Wakeel, the passenger bus, belonging to a private company, had departed from Skardu on Saturday night for Rawalpindi.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr Arif Alvi on Sunday expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in a road accident took place in Babusar Pass area of Gilgit Baltistan.

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