Passenger van falls into river in Pak; 17 among 16 of family killed

Islamabad: All 17 people on a van, including 16 members of a family, were killed when their vehicle plunged into the Indus River in Pakistan's mountainous Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, according to a media report on Tuesday.

The vehicle was heading from Chilas to Rawalpindi when it fell into the Indus River in the Paniba area of Kohistan district on Monday, Dawn News reported.

The van was privately hired by the family for a visit.

Dasu-Kohistan Control Room officials said besides a driver, the van had 16 passengers from the same family, including women and children, the report said, adding that the driver also died in the accident.

The accident took place when the driver lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a sharp turn.

It veered off into the Indus River and got submerged soon after, the police said, adding that 17 people have died in the incident.

Rescue teams were trying to locate the missing passengers but faced hurdles due to the difficult terrain and depth of the river.

Professional divers along with local volunteers have been called for carrying out the rescue operation.

Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid expressed deep sorrow over the incident and directed the administration officials to mobilise all resources in search of the victims.

Just a week ago, at least nine people had drowned when a jeep plunged into the Yarkhoon River after hitting the safety railing of a suspension bridge in the Yarkhoon Valley.

The roads linking the northern regions of the country run through some of the most treacherous mountains, causing frequent mishaps.

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