Islamabad: A young man has been hailed as a hero as he risked his own life to save eight people from drowning in the Raghagan dam in the tribal district of Bajaur in northwestern Pakistan.
The 25-year-old Ismail Khan who works at Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s civil defence department as a rescuer used his swimming skills to save lives. As soon as he was informed about the tragic incident on the day of Eid Al Adha, Ismail said he rushed to the site and immediately joined the rescue operation. “I am glad that I was able to save eight of the 15 people” who drowned after two boats capsized in the reservoir, Ismail told media.
Residents of Bajaur and first responders have hailed the heroic actions of the young man and urged the government to honour him with an award in recognition of his heroism.
At least four people died, eight are injured and three others missing after two boats capsized in a reservoir in Bajaur district, according to Rescue 1122 Bajaur district officer Amjad Ali. Two adults Momin, 27, and Wali, 29, and two children 9-year-old Tufail and 11-year-old Fawad, lost their lives in the accident.
The incident occurred after one of the boats reported a technical fault and the second one, also filled with tourists, that came for rescue lost balance, leading to both boats flipping, simultaneously. Witnesses claimed that the tourists were not wearing life jackets and that boats were carrying passengers more than the capacity.
“It is really sad that this accident happened only a month after the dam was opened to the public” offering recreation activities such as boating for the people, Bilal Yasir, a local journalist told Gulf News. “Thousands visit the Raghagan dam on the weekends yet public safety was not ensured” which led to the tragedy on the day of Eid, he said. He stressed the safety measures and the availability of skilled rescue personnel must be ensured at the site before allowing boaters.
Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has expressed deep sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the incident and said that his team is monitoring the situation himself.
At least 60 rescue personnel, including 25 divers, are still involved in the search and rescue operation. The team includes Rescue 1122 and Pakistan Army personnel while FC troops are also providing assistance.