16 dead after landslide in northern Pakistan buries bus

A landslide in northern Pakistan on Sunday buried a minibus under tons of mud and rock, killing all 16 people on board, police said.

Rescue workers dug for hours in hopes of finding survivors, but called off the search late Sunday after recovering 16 bodies, including the driver and four soldiers travelling to their posts, said local police officer Wakil Khan.

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The bus was pushed into a deep ditch and buried along a mountainous road while travelling to the scenic town of Skardu in the Gilgit Baltistan region from the city of Rawalpindi in Punjab province, he said.

Local administrator Miraj Alam said the bodies were being transferred to the district hospital, and that the Jaglot-Skardu road in the Tangos area where the landslide took place was being cleared.

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Road accidents are common in Pakistan, mainly due to insufficient enforcement of safety standards and poor infrastructure, particularly on battered mountain roads. In March, a passenger bus tumbled off a winding mountainous road and into a ravine in northern Pakistan, killing at least 19 people and injuring several others.

Landslides after heavy monsoon rain are also common in the country and cause widespread damage mountainous areas.

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Skardu is located in a complex of mountain ranges that includes the Himalayas, and the town is the gateway to K2, the world’s highest peak after Mt. Everest. Large numbers of local and foreign tourists visit the peak annually. Skardu is around 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

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