Pakistan

At least 19 killed as boat capsizes in Indus River near Sadiqabad

By: Adeel Alvi

At least 19 people were killed when a boat carrying more than 100 passengers capsized in Indus River near Sadiqabad town of Punjab’s Rahim Yar Khan district on Monday.

The boat carrying woman and children met the accident due to overloading, according to the deputy commissioner of Rahim Yar Khan. The passengers were heading towards Machka from Kharor to attend a wedding ceremony when the incident occurred, Express News reported.

The locals and onlookers rushed to help those struggling to stay afloat and saved many of them.

But several failed to survive, with 19 bodies recovered so far. Most of those who lost their lives to the capsizing included women, according to officials.

A local news agency says that at least 65 people, including the bridegroom, were rescued and nearly two dozen people, including children, were still missing. He said according to their initial information, between 90 to 100 people were on board the boat.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known, but apparently the boat was overcrowded. He said unfortunately all those whose bodies were recovered by the rescuers were women and children.

In a statement, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed his grief and sorrow over the incident and asked authorities to make their best efforts to rescue those passengers who are still missing.

Such accidents are common in Pakistan, where rickety wooden boats are often used to transport goods and people on rivers and lakes. Most operate without life jackets.

According to the DC of the area immediately after the incident was reported, 30 rescuers, five ambulances, and a water rescue van arrived at the spot.

“Nineteen bodies, all women, have been pulled from the water while a search operation is underway for the remaining passengers,” he added.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari instructed authorities to use all the possible resources in the rescue operation and prevent any such incidents in the future.

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