FWO clears landslide-blocked Karakoram Highway

GILGIT: The Frontier Works Organization (FWO) on Saturday cleared the Karakoram Highway blocked after landslide and rescued stranded tourists, said a statement on Saturday.

The organisation cleared 56 points that faced blockages on the world’s highest highway which had severely affected traffic, leaving hundreds of vehicles and people stranded.

Rescue teams equipped with heavy machinery were dispatched to the affected areas. Despite the challenging terrain and adverse weather conditions, the personnel worked tirelessly around the clock, clearing debris and all blockages on major routes including the Gilgit-Skardu Road.

As a result of a rockfall, a large boulder measuring around 106 meters caused a road closure in Tangir, trapping a significant number of passenger vehicles. FWO conducted controlled blasting to reopen the road.

Over a period of three days, 87 controlled explosions were conducted to clear the routes.

During this time, FWO’s medical teams were also present at the scene and were busy providing immediate medical assistance to stranded tourists and travellers. Tourists and travellers appreciated the tireless and selfless efforts of FWO and the Pakistan Army.

Torrential rainfall has claimed the lives of dozens across multiple provinces. On April 29, the National Disaster Management Authority issued a nationwide alert and cautioned against severe weather conditions.

A day earlier, a fatal bus accident on the Karakoram Highway in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Diamer district claimed the lives of at least 20 people dead and 21 others wounded, according to rescue officials.

According to the Diamer district rescue officer, Shoukat Riaz, the ill-fated bus, operated by a private company, was en route from Rawalpindi to Gilgit when the driver reportedly lost control of the vehicle near Gunar Farm. The bus veered off the road and overturned, coming to rest close to the banks of the Indus River. The incident occurred around 5:30 in the morning.

Rescue 1122 and other emergency response teams initiated a rescue operation and transported the injured to Chillas Hospital for urgent medical treatment. Rescue sources said the death toll might rise further as the majority of the injured were in critical condition.

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