At least 26 people were killed and a dozen more were injured in a passenger bus accident at Babusar Pass in the Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan early Sunday, GB government spokesman Faizullah Firaq said.
Firaq said the dead and injured, which included troops from the Pakistan army, were taken to the hospital at the district headquarters in Chilas and an emergency was declared at the DHQ hospital.
He added that the process of identification of the deceased was underway.
In a rescue operation carried out by the Pakistan Army, the injured were taken to the Combined Military Hospital, Gilgit, by aviation helicopters from the military, the military media wing said in a statement. The bodies of the dead were also taken to CMH, Gilgit, the statement said.
According to Diamer's police spokesman, Mohammad Wakeel, the passenger bus, belonging to a private company, left Skardu last night for Rawalpindi.
He said that early Sunday morning, the driver lost control of the bus and crashed into a mountain. It is still unclear how the driver lost control of the vehicle.
An official at Diamer's DC office, Raja Ashfaq, said most of the dead and injured are from Skardu.
Ashfaq said Rescue 1122 and police teams had been sent to the accident site. In addition, he said a helicopter was requested from the GB government to transport the bodies to Skardu after identification. Two helicopters are expected to arrive shortly.
Meanwhile, GB government spokesman Firaq said the injured were taken to Gilgit by helicopter. He expressed his gratitude to the force commander for providing a Pakistan army helicopter for the mission, adding that an army ambulance was also participating in the rescue operation.
The Babusar Pass road, frequently used by tourists, remains open from the end of June until October of each year. Then it remains closed after heavy snowfall in Babusar Top.
Additional reports of Naveed Siddiqui.