Our Correspondent Muzaffarabad
At least 11 people were killed and 16 others were injured when a passenger bus plunged into a deep gorge near Zaminabad village, some 24 kilometres south of Muzaffarabad, on Muzaffarabad-Kohala road, at around 2:30am on Saturday.
Three children were also among the deceased and five passengers were reported to be in critical condition. The passenger bus was en-route from Rawalpindi to Chakothi village in Hattian Bala District of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
According to the police, the rescue teams rushed to the site after the accident and shifted the bodies of three passengers to Abbas Institute of Medical Sciences and six bodies to the Combined Military Hospital, while the other injured were shifted to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.
The ill-fated bus, with around 25 persons on board, had left Rawalpindi for Chakothi, the last prominent village of Jhelum Valley along the Line of Control.
“Someone who heard the loud noise caused by the accident called Rescue 15 in Muzaffarabad and they alerted us about the unfortunate incident,” said Qadeer, adding that the entire staff of his police station, as well as policemen posted in Kohala, had rushed to the site of the accident to carry out rescue operations.
According to him, at least five persons had died on the spot while three others lost their lives before they could reach a hospital.
Around 17 others, including an infant, were injured and hospitalised in Muzaffarabad, where two succumbed to their injuries, he added.
The deceased have been identified as Muhammad Jamil Rabbani, the bus driver, Halima Khan, Rohan Rashid, Rafina Bibi, Najaf Fatima, Hamza, Zabeer Akbar, Ahsan, Muhammad Saleem and Mehran Ashraf.
Qadeer said the part of the road from where the bus fell down had been damaged, allegedly due to erosion by the River Jhelum, and reckoned that it might be the cause of the accident.
However, another police official, who asked not to be named, said the road was quite wide and the driver could have avoided driving on the extreme left.