Islamabad, May 13: At least five medical students were killed and over 20 others swept away as an old wooden bridge on a river in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir collapsed while the students were taking pictures on it.
The students, in their early 20s, from two private colleges in Faisalabad and Lahore, had stopped to take pictures on the bridge in Neelum Valley when it collapsed as it could not withstand the pressure, media reports said.
Five bodies have been recovered so far while an operation is underway to rescue the missing tourists, police said. The students were on a college trip.
Personnel of the Pakistan Army are also assisting in the operation. However, the extremely cold water of the stream and its strong current are hampering efforts to recover the persons, the officials said.
Officials were quoted as saying that the bridge could only withstand a maximum of four persons and had relevant warning signs for the purpose as well but the tourists still thronged the bridge. Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has directed the deputy commissioner to speed up rescue efforts and ensure anyone responsible for negligence is brought to book.