At least five dead, 12 missing after Pakistan bridge collapses

Tragedy In Neelum Valley, 11 Vanished In River, 4 Recovered Dead

The Neelum Valley - located near the Lion of Control (LoC), a de facto border that divides the disputed Kashmir Valley between Pakistan and India - is a popular summer tourist attraction in Pakistan.

At least five students were killed and twelve others were reported missing on Sunday after a bridge collapsed at a tourist site in Pakistani Kashmir, officials said, adding there was little hope of finding survivors. 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.

According to DC Neelum, the police and local people promptly reacted and came to their rescue.

"We have recovered four bodies of boys and one of a girl", a senior government official in Kashmir said. Some of the students among them later visited Kundal Shahi, a tourist spot of Kuton Jagran and at least 26 students gathered on the Jagran hanging bridge built on a deep gulch for taking their selfies, ignoring the warning mentioned on the board of the bridge.

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Azad Jammu and Kashmir is said to be one of the most attractive tourist spots of the world.

The Pakistan Army is assisting in the rescue and search operation.

Around 12 persons are still missing, but rescue operations are underway, the statement added.

Sources said the bridge could only withstand a maximum of four persons and had relevant warning signs for the objective as well but the tourists still thronged the bridge.

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