ISLAMABAD: A five-member committee that was formed to probe the recent deaths of snow-tourists at a popular mountainous resort in Pakistan attributed the tragedy to administrative negligence after finishing its investigation on Sunday, local media reported.
The committee was set up by the provincial administration of Punjab last week after 23 people, including women and children, lost their lives after getting stuck in a snowstorm in Murree for several hours.
Most of the victims suffered hypothermia as temperatures fell to -8°C (17.6°F). Officials said some died of carbon monoxide poisoning from running their car heaters while their mufflers were choked by snow.
While the inquiry committee is yet to prepare its report which will be presented to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in the next few days, Geo News reported that it found the local administration responsible for not doing enough while the tragedy was unfolding in Murree.
"The probe has revealed that on the day of the incident, several snow ploughs were parked at the same place which led to road blockages, the administrative staff was absent from duty, while a blizzard warning from the metrological department was blatantly neglected, according to sources," the report said on Monday.
The committee recorded statements of several tourists along with officials of various administrative departments in Murree during its probe.
The Islamabad High Court also looked into the incident last week, blaming the country's National Disaster Management Authority for not making adequate preparations to deal with the situation which led to the death of so many tourists.