By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: “I was feeling sleepy when the car was hit by stones. Then the car tilted over after which I must have lost consciousness,” says Shazia. She was the lone survivor in a car struck by the landslide in Dasu, Kohistan.
Four other passengers were killed when the car was torpedoed into the river when a landslide triggered by the earthquake hit the vehicle. The car was en route to Rawalpindi from Gilgit when the 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the region on Monday.
“When I regained consciousness, I found myself in a hospital bed. I don’t remember anything in between,” Shazia told reporters in District Headquarters Hospital Gilgit where she was admitted in critical condition.
A resident of Danyor in Gilgit and a lawyer by profession, Shazia survived because unlike her companions, she did not fall into the river. She fell out of the vehicle before it plunged into the fast-flowing river near Dasu Bridge in Doga, Dasu.
She was travelling with her brother Liaqat Ali, also a lawyer, who died in the accident. His body was recovered, while the remaining three passengers are still missing but believed to be dead.
Diamer deputy commissioner Usman Ahmad said rescue operations began immediately after the incident.
“A body and the injured woman were shifted to Gilgit at 4am for treatment,” Ahmad told The Express Tribune on Tuesday. He added, “Unfortunately bodies of the remaining three passengers are yet to be recovered. Efforts are under way but the task is very difficult.” The missing passengers are identified as Fida Hussain, son of Muhammad Gafoor, Dildar, son of Gohar Ali, and Tauseef.
Boulders were cleared, restoring routes on Tuesday for locals travelling to Ghizer or Skardu from Gilgit.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2015.