ISLAMABAD – At least 12 people including nine Chinese nationals were killed and several others after a bus plunged into a ravine in north-western Pakistan, confirmed Foreign Office on Wednesday.
The bus was carrying Chinese engineers, surveyors, and mechanical staff to the ongoing Dasu dam project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The FO in a statement said that the incident happened after a mechanical failure resulting in leakage of gas that caused a blast, adding that further investigations are underway.
It added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is closely in contact with the Chinese Embassy for coordination and facilitation.
Pakistan extend sincere condolences to the families of Chinese and Pakistani workers who lost their lives in the incident. “We also pray for quick recovery of the injured,” read the statement.
“Pakistan and China are close friends and iron-brothers. Pakistan attaches great importance to safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects and institutions in Pakistan,” the FO said.
Upper Kohistan Deputy Commissioner Arif Khan Yousafzai said that the incident happened at about 7:30 a.m when a bus was transporting around 30 workers, including Chinese engineers, from the Barseen camp to the plant site.
Meanwhile, China has asked that Pakistan conduct a comprehensive investigation into the event.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian condemned the attack and asked Pakistan to “severely punish” those responsible and “earnestly protect the safety of Chinese nationals, organizations, and projects” in the country.
A senior police official told the media that the reason for the event was unknown and that the area’s cell networks were down, making it impossible to obtain information.
“At the moment we are not clear what exactly happened, whether it is a blast or an accident,” the official said, adding that once police complete the initial investigation, the situation will become clear.
He said that KP police head Moazzam Ansari had taken a helicopter to Upper Kohistan.
Meanwhile, the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has not provided any information on the event. The event was described as an “accident” in a statement.
A Wapda spokesperson confirmed that the bus was carrying workers of a Chinese business, and that rescue operations were underway at the scene of the accident, and that the wounded were being transported to a hospital.
The Wapda chairman had departed for Dasu to supervise the rescue efforts, according to the spokesman.
More to follow…