Divers pull bodies from lake to recover from cold weather

Divers pull bodies from lake to recover from cold weather

Forty-nine children died when their overloaded boat capsized in north-west Pakistan, police said, after divers spent three days dragging bodies from freezing waters.

The boys, aged between seven and 14 years old, were all students of a madrassa and had been taken on Sunday for a day trip to the scenic Tanda Dam lake.

The cold weather impeded the rescue mission, which was why the water of the dam was freezing. But today the divers were able to dive deep to recover the remaining bodies, Khateer Ahmad, a senior official at the emergency service Rescue 1122, said on Tuesday.

He said that the bodies of a teacher and a skipper were also pulled from the water, bringing the death toll to 51.

Hundreds of parents and relatives had gathered over the past few days, according to Muhammad Umar, who sells tea at a picnic site overlooking the popular tourist destination.

Every time a body was recovered from the scene, they would jump on to the diver to see if it was their son and every time we heard them screaming in pain and anguish, he said.

I have not witnessed such scenes in my life, it is something that can't be explained in words. The lake Tanda Dam is located about three miles from the Islamic school in Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

On Tuesday, a police spokesperson Fazal Naeem issued a new death toll after the end of the rescue mission. It was confirmed by the military media wing.

Naeem said that the boat was overloaded, its capacity was around 20 to 25 persons and five people were rescued, including four students and a teacher.

Pakistan s army shared images showing divers crossing the lake in rubber dinghies and entering the water to search for more bodies.

"I got stuck under the boat," said 11-year-old survivor Muhammad Mustafa from his hospital bed on Sunday. My shawl and sweater weighed me down, so I took them off. The water was extremely cold and my body went numb. I thought I was going to pass out when a man saved me from an inflatable tube. Drownings are common in Pakistan when aged and overloaded vessels lose their stability and throw passengers into the water.

On the same day, at least 41 people were confirmed dead after their bus crashed into a ravine in the south-western Balochistan province.

In July last year, at least 18 women drowned after an overloaded boat carrying about 100 members of the same family capsized during a marriage procession between two villages.