- Twenty snowploughs out of 29 were parked at the same place when a snowstorm hit Murree, per reports.
- According to sources, drivers and other staff were not present on duty while families were stuck in snowstorm.
- Almost 50,000 tourist vehicles entering Murree from different entry routes were told to return by district administration, per reports.
New information emerged on Friday as the probe related to the Murree tragedy moved further, revealing that 20 snowploughs out of 29 were parked at the same place when the snowstorm hit the area, Geo News reported.
On Saturday, January 8, at least 23 people died due to carbon monoxide poisoning as thousands of tourist vehicles ended up being stranded in Murree due to heavy snowfall, ensuing road blockage.
According to sources, 20 out of 29 vehicles used for removing snow from roads were parked at the same place while drivers and other staff were not present on duty as families remained stuck in the snowstorm.
The investigation committee has also recorded the statements of operational staff designated in Murree, however, the forest department officials failed to come up with a satisfactory explanation when the inquiry committee questioned them.
The investigation conducted so far has revealed that the district administration had returned almost 50,000 tourist vehicles from different entry routes of Murree.
On the other hand, the hearing on Murree tragedy in Lahore High Court (LHC) was conducted upon a petition seeking to probe government negligence involved in the incident.
During the hearing, the court summoned the secretary of tourism and director general (DG) of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), commissioner Rawalpindi, chief traffic officer, and regional police officer.
LHC has also issued a notice to the hotel’s owners association of Murree to present in court on January 19.
Twenty-three dead after being stranded in Murree snow
It is worth mentioning that, according to official statistics, at least 23 people had died as thousands of tourist vehicles ended up being stranded in Murree due to heavy snowfall and ensuing road blockage.
The Punjab government had declared Murree as a calamity-hit area after heavy snowfall wreaked havoc on the city.
According to the local administration of Murree, rain and blizzards were forecast around Murree, with thunderstorms at a speed of 50-90 kmph and heavy snowfall.
Further, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) also reprimanded on Thursday the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and said it is responsible for the Murree tragedy.
— Thumbnail image: AFP/File