School bus crash kills 18 children in AJK

A school bus carrying up to 35 children plunged into a river in Pakistani Kashmir on Tuesday, killing at least 18, officials said, fearing for the survival of the missing pupils.

“Eighteen bodies of the children have been recovered,” an administration official of Hattian district Shahid Mahmood said.

Most of the children came from the Hattian district, he added.

Among the dead children were seven orphans whose parents were killed in 2005 earthquake and were adopted by a relative.

Chaudhry Imtiaz, deputy commissioner for Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir earlier said the minibus was carrying 30 to 35 children aged 10 to 15 from Garhi Dupatta, 28 kilometres (17 miles) from Muzaffarabad, to Allama Iqbal School.

“Unfortunately there is hardly any chance of survival of the remaining
Children,” Imtiaz told AFP.

The driver lost control of the vehicle, which skidded off the road and plunged into Jhelum river, said Ghulam Akbar, police chief of Muzaffarabad.

“Only five children have been recovered alive,” he said.