AZAD KASHMIR – The bridge collapse in the Kundal Shahi area of Neelum district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), has raised serious questions about the role of the public in taking safety measures at tourists spots.
A roadside cafeteria near the bridge had displayed a warning for visitors to take care while roaming around the area, which was grossly ignored by the sightseers.
The notice categorically mentioned that tourists should avoid frolicking near the shore of the Neelum river as multiple mishaps had been reported in the past as well.
The board, bearing the name of the proprietor of the hotel, also confirmed that the bridge was in a dilapidated condition, so visitors should take precautionary measures to avoid any untoward accident.
However, the tourists, 28 in number, who were visiting the serene valley brushed aside the warning and posed for pictures atop the bridge, located over the Jagran stream following which it collapsed.
According to latest reports, the death toll in the Neelum valley bridge disaster climbed to 12 on Monday with six tourists still missing.
Commissioner Muzaffarabad Imtiaz Ahmed told the newsmen that five women and seven men had lost their lives in the tragic incident.
The deceased were identified as Shah Zaib, Abdul Rehman Saeed, Naeem, Ifat Nadeem, Hamad and Rasham Naz.
A local man, Saim Shifat, also lost his life while attempting to save the lives of the tourists.
Neelum valley is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the AJK, which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists from across the country, particularly in the scorching summers.