Nearly 40 tourists swept away as bridge collapse in Neelum Valley, 14 rescued

Nearly 40 tourists swept away as bridge collapse in Neelum Valley, 14 rescued

ISLAMABAD: Five bodies were recovered from River Neelum and 14 persons were saved as rescue efforts are underway to save the 40 tourists who fell into the river on Sunday. 

The bus carrying the tourists fell into River Neelum as the bridge collapsed.

A rescue operation is underway at Nala Jagran, a hydel-power project built on River Neelum in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Rescue workers saved 14 people. The remaining tourists are still missing. Many of them were students and are feared dead.

Police and army personnel participated in the rescue operation.

The tourists were standing together in the centre of Kundal Shahi bridge to take a picture. The Kundal Shahi bridge could not contain the pressure of their weight.

“People had come from different areas such as Lahore,” said a man who saw the bridge collapse.

The Muzaffarabad deputy commissioner said more than 40 people fell into the water. A control room has been set up to oversee the rescue work, he said. The bodies have been taken to a hospital.

Deaths of three students of a Faisalabad college have been confirmed. They had gone with other students and teachers on a trip to the valley.

The father of an injured medical student from Sahiwal said that the administration of Azad Jammu and Kashmir should have a mechanism to inform people in such cases of emergency. “I saw the news on TV,” he said. “My daughter is injured and I learnt about her not from the government but from a policeman. Such accidents happen but there should be a mechanism on part of the government.”

Neelum Valley is a popular tourist spot, especially in summers. A large number of people from in and outside of Pakistan head to the destination spot because of its cool weather and scenic beauty.

The Kundal Shahi bridge was built eight years ago. APP

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