At least 15 dead in accident near Kalar Kahar

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Apr 6, 2014.

Islamabad – At least 15 people were killed and around 30 injured on Saturday when a “mini-truck” plunged in to a ravine near Kallar Kahar, police and rescue officials said.

The accident occurred at the Martan khurd village of tehsil Kallar Kahar, district Chakwal, at around 8:30pm. The truck is believed to have been carrying some 45 passengers, when it went off the road and fell into a 50-feet deep ravine, according to authorities.

The injured and dead bodies were shifted to the Lillah hospital, to the Fauji Foundation hospital in Kallar Kahar and to a basic health unit in Buchal Kallan, a town near the accident site.

Rescue officials said at least seven men, three women and five children were confirmed dead.

The deceased had not been identified by the time of filing this report and police were still trying to ascertain the number of people injured.

Officers at the Kallar Kahar police station and the Sub-divisional Police officer’s staff seemed hard-pressed to provide details on the accident on Saturday night, as they claimed rescue work was still under progress.

“We believe the vehicle was bound towards the Pir Khara shrine,” one local police officer said. “We suspect it was a case of brakes failure but we are waiting to hear back from our superior officers who have not returned yet from the accident site.”

Kallar Kahar’s salt range on the Lahore-Islamabad stretch has been the site of many fatal accidents in the past, due to the hilly terrain and sharp bends in the road.

But the officer said Saturday’s accident occurred on a local road near the village, which nevertheless is part of the salt range hills.

Police officials and rescue workers rushed to the scene of the incident on Saturday evening. But police said darkness and hilly terrain were hampering rescue efforts.

Emergency was imposed in local hospitals to treat injured from the accident, rescue officials said.

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