ISLAMABAD, May 2 (AP): Eight tourists who went missing over the weekend when their jeep fell into a river in Pakistan-administered Kashmir have been declared dead by rescuers who could not find any of them despite a massive search, police said on Monday, as the prime minister ordered authorities to remain alert to handle any situation.
The incident happened on Sunday in Neelam Valley, a district in the disputed Himalayan region, which is divided between Pakistan and India but claimed by both in its entirety, a local police official Khalid Aziz said.
He said initially one tourist was killed and five others were injured in the incident, while later police learned that eight tourists were missing and there was no hope of finding them alive, as the fast-flowing river swept them away.
At least 14 people, including nine tourists who died in Kashmir, have been killed since Saturday when heavy rains started lashing various parts of the country. At least four people were killed in various rain-related incidents in the southwestern Baluchistan province, while a boy was killed in Karachi, the capital of southern Sindh province.
It prompted Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to issue an alert, asking disaster management authorities to remain vigilant to ensure the safety of the people. He also asked the highway authorities to remain alert, after landslides triggered by rains briefly blocked some roads over the weekend.
Rains are likely to continue this week across the country. It has added problems to the lives of scores of those who were badly affected by last summer’s devastating floods that killed 1,739 people and affected 33 million others.
The floods triggered by monsoon rains last year also caused USD 30 billion in damages to Pakistan’s economy.