22 dead after snowfall trapped people in cold cars at Pakistani resort

Temperatures fell to -8C amid heavy snowfall in Pakistan’s resort town of Murree overnight, killing at least 22 people trapped in their vehicles, officials said on Saturday.

Atiq Ahmed, a policeman from Islamabad, said eight of the 22 people who died were from the family of another policeman, Naveed Iqbal, who also died. Most of the victims died of hypothermia, officials said.

Rescue service doctor Dr Abdur Rehman said that after evacuating all stranded tourists from their cars, the death toll stood at 22, including 10 men, 10 children and two women.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said thousands of vehicles were removed from the snow, but more than 1,000 were still stranded in the area on Saturday.

Located 45.5 kilometers north of the capital of Islamabad, Murree is a popular seaside resort that attracts over a million tourists each year. The streets leading to the city are often blocked by snow in winter.

Paramilitary troops called for help

Ahmed said more than 1.2 meters of snow fell in the area overnight and all inbound traffic was blocked on Saturday.

The minister said paramilitary troops and a special mountain military unit had been called in to help.

A soldier clears snow from the sides of a vehicle stuck on a snow-covered road in Murree, Pakistan on Saturday. (Inter Services / Reuters Public Relations)

“Until then, no vehicles or even people on foot are allowed to enter Murree, except for emergency and rescue vehicles and those bringing food to stranded people,” he said. he declares.

Umar Maqbool, a local administrator, said heavy snowfall hampered rescue efforts overnight and even heavy equipment brought in to clear snow initially got stuck.

Authorities gave no further details of those who died in their snow-covered vehicles, but said they were working on both recovery and rescue operations. Maqbool said food and blankets were distributed to tourists stranded overnight.

Most of the streets leading to the area’s resorts were largely cleared of snow later Saturday, but work was still underway, Maqbool said. Troops and military machines were working to clear the streets, and the military established relief camps at military-run schools that provided shelter and food.

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