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Search for drowning victims in Kohistan stream continues.

MANSEHRA -- The search for 24 people who drowned in Upper Kohistan after a pickup vehicle fell into a stream following a bridge collapse continued on Saturday as the locals could fish out only eight bodies.

The victims - including nine women - had drowned in Kandia stream when the vehicle carrying members of a wedding party plunged into the stream after the suspension bridge collapsed on Friday night.

The district administration has issued a list of the victims' names.

'The vehicle carrying 32 people was on its way back to Kandia after members of a tribe attended a wedding function in a nearby village but eight of them disembarked before reaching the bridge where the vehicle plunged into the stream,' Upper Kohistan deputy commissioner Hamidur Rehman told reporters.

Mr Rehman rushed to the scene along with district police officer Raja Abdul Saboor and supervised the search operation. He said that all those on board were presumed dead as their loved ones who had disembarked before the incident confirmed it with their names.

'The gushing water in the stream has been hampering the search by locals and police and sailors could be called to take part in the ongoing operation which has been under way since the incident on Friday evening,' said Mr Rehman.

'Kandia Tehsil is linked with rest of district through over 70 suspension bridAges,' an official in district administration said.

Doraj Khan, the brother of local MPA Didar Khan, told a small gathering of locals that it was a big tragedy and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan was due to meet the bereaved families shortly.

'We are sure that the CM would visit Kandia and announce compensation for families who lost their loved ones in the incident,' said Mr Khan.

He said that the government should also announce a special development package to improve the road and bridge infrastructure so that the human loss in such tragedies could be averted.

'The government should build embankment walls at the side of this stream which caused high financial and human losses in flash floods in recent years and in 2011,' said Mr Khan.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Sep 1, 2019
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