Over 21 tourists die in snowstorm after 125,000 cars stranded in traffic jam

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At least 21 tourists have died following a horror snowstorm that left them stranded in a 125,000-car traffic jam in Pakistan on Saturday.

Authorities confirmed the mass tragedy after heavy snowfall of around 32 inches had caused traffic chaos in Murree, located in the northeast of the capital Islamabad.

Government officials believe that the drivers died from asphyxiation rather than the cold after turning on their car heaters.

But health expert Mubashir Ahmed has since suggested that their deaths could have been caused by hypothermia.

The Pakistan Army and government desperately tried to rescue them as locals flocked to provide food and blankets to tourists who were struck after two days of continuous snowfall.

It has been reported that thousands were left stranded after the road leading to Malka-e-Kohsar was closed due to the severe weather.

Taking to Twitter, the Rawalpindi deputy commissioner said: “Around 23000 vehicles have been evacuated safely from Murree. Around 1000 are still stranded.”

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said the road leading to Murree from Islamabad has been closed.

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He said: "Islamabad and Rawalpindi's commissioners, deputy commissioners, police, are carrying out rescue operations.

"Over 1,000 vehicles have been stuck since night; 16-19 deaths took place in cars and some have had been evacuated.

"It has been decided that the ban will be on tourists who are planning on coming to Murree by walk. It is not the time to come to Murree.''

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Prime Minister Imran Khan said he had ordered an inquiry into the incident as he spoke on his "shock and upset" over the deaths of tourists.

He said on Twitter: "Unprecedented snowfall & rush of people proceeding without checking weather conditions caught district admin unprepared.

"Have ordered inquiry & putting in place strong regulation to ensure prevention of such tragedies."

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