In pictures: Rescue operations in Pakistan’s mountain resort, 22 killed in cars amid falling temperatures

At least 22 people, who were trapped in their vehicles, died after the temperature dropped to minus 8C (17.6F) during heavy snowfall in Pakistan’s mountainous resort town of Muri, officials said.

Teek Ahmed, an Islamabad police officer, said eight of the 22 people who died were from the family of fellow Islamabad police officer Naveed Iqbal, who also died.

Officials said most of the victims died of hypothermia.

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In this photo provided by Inter Services Public Relations, members of the military participate in a rescue operation in a heavily snow-prone area in Muri, about 28 miles (45 kilometers) north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, on Saturday, Jan. , 2022. (Inter Services Public Relations via AP)

Rescue services doctor Abdur Rahman said after all the stranded tourists were evacuated from their cars, the death toll rose to 22, including 10 men, 10 children and two women.

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A soldier clears snow under a stranded vehicle after heavy snowfall in Muri, Pakistan, January 8, 2022. Handout via Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) / Reuters

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said thousands of vehicles had been pulled from the snow but more than a thousand were still stranded in the area on Saturday.

Located 28 miles north of the capital of Islamabad, Muri is a popular winter resort that attracts over a million tourists annually. In winter the roads leading to the city are often blocked by snow.

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In this photo provided by Inter Services Public Relations, members of the military participate in a rescue operation in a heavily snow-prone area in Muri, about 28 miles (45 kilometers) north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, on Saturday, Jan. , 2022. (Inter Services Public Relations via AP)

The home minister said more than four feet of snow fell in the area overnight and all oncoming traffic was stopped on Saturday.

The minister said paramilitary forces and a special military mountain unit have been called in to assist.

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In this photo provided by Inter Services Public Relations, members of the military participate in a rescue operation in a heavily snow-prone area in Muri, about 28 miles (45 kilometers) north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, on Saturday, Jan. , 2022. (Inter Services Public Relations via AP)

“Till then no vehicles or even people on foot are allowed to enter the mary, except emergency and rescue vehicles and those bringing food for the stranded,” he said.

Local administrator Umar Maqbool said heavy snowfall hampered rescue operations during the night and heavy snow-clearing equipment also initially got stuck.

Officials said food and blankets were distributed to the stranded tourists.

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In this photo provided by Inter Services Public Relations, members of the military participate in a rescue operation in a heavily snow-prone area in Muri, about 28 miles (45 kilometers) north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, on Saturday, Jan. , 2022. (Inter Services Public Relations via AP)