Monday 24 September 2018

At least five students killed as bridge collapses in Kashmir

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Rescue workers search for bodies at the site of bridge collapse in Kashmir (M.D. Mughal/AP)
Rescue workers search for bodies at the site of bridge collapse in Kashmir (M.D. Mughal/AP)

By Roshan Mughal, Associated Press

An old wooden bridge over a fast-moving river in Kashmir has collapsed as dozens of students were taking pictures on it, leading to at least five deaths.

Javed Ayub, a tourism department official in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, said 14 students were rescued after the bridge collapsed and that civil and military rescue teams were searching for 11 others.

Mr Ayub said rescue workers had recovered the bodies of five drowned students.

The students, most in their early 20s, were enrolled in the medical college at Faisalabad in eastern Punjab province. Said some students from a college in Lahore were also among those fell in the river.

It will be difficult to find the remaining (students) alive as the water flow is very high Javed Ayub, tourism department official

“We hope for the best but it will be difficult to find the remaining (students) alive as the water flow is very high,” said Mr Ayub.

He said the hanging wooden bridge was designed for locals to use in small numbers.

“The touring youths have not realised the danger despite a warning board asking people not to overload the old structure,” he said.

Police said eight of the rescued students were injured and airlifted to Muzaffarabad in a military helicopter for medical aid. The incident took place near the picnic point of Kundal Shahi, some 47 miles north of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir.

The Neelum Valley is a popular tourist destination in the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir.

Kashmir is split between Pakistan and India, both of which claim the Himalayan region in its entirety.

Press Association

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