DERA ISMAIL KHAN - At least 10 people were killed and eight fainted when they accidentally fell into a canal, contaminated with poisonous substance, in Dera Ismail Khan.
Around 15 to 20 people were going above the canal when two of them lost balance and fell into it. In an attempt to rescue their companions, more people jumped into the canal that was filled with poisonous industrial effluent. Majority of those jumped into canal breathed their last.
Police said a nearby sugar mill was spilling its poisonous effluent into the canal that turned fatal for the passersby. Police said more than 15 unconscious people have been hurried to nearby hospitals. According to reports, about eight people were referred to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Purwa as there was no clinic in the village to treat them.
Four bodies including that of a child and woman were brought to the Purwa Hospital and five of the dead belong to one family. Police said most of them died from suffocation as due to chemical wastes there was shortage of oxygen.
Most of these people used to cross this water channel in Paloon area of Ramak on a daily basis for household activities and farming. The water channel, usually crossed on foot by the locals, is less than two feet deep and mainly carries waste from the mill.
Khyber Pakthunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak, taking notice of the incident, said those responsible would be taken to task. A statement, issued form the CM House, directed the commissioner and other high ranking officials to reach the area and find out the cause of the incident, supervise rescue operations and assess the situation to find out who is responsible. The statement said that it seemed negligence on the part of the sugar mill’s administration was the primary cause, as well as local administrative machinery which could not save lives.