At least five medical students being on a college trip have been killed and 20 others were reported missing after a bridge collapsed at a tourist site in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Eight other students were injured in the accident. They were airlifted to Muzaffarabad in a military helicopter for medical aid. The structure, in mountainous Neelum district, reportedly gave way as about three dozens of university students crossed it to view a waterfall. The students, in their early 20s, from two private colleges in Faisalabad and Lahore, had stopped to take pictures on the bridge. “We have recovered four bodies of boys and one of a girl. Twelve others are still missing and we don’t have any hope about them (surviving) because the water is very cold“, said Chaudhary Imtiaz, a senior government official in Kashmir’s capital Muzaffarabad.
However, the authorities had posted a warning near the bridge, telling visitors to walk across it in small numbers because it was only designed to accommodate five people at a time. The warning signs were ignored. The Pakistan Army has also been roped in to assist in the operation. Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has directed the deputy commissioner to speed up rescue efforts and ensure anyone responsible for negligence is brought to book. The scenic Himalayan region is a popular tourist destination.