Hunza, May 20: In a tragic accident Colonel Arif, Commanding Officer of the Frontier Works Organization (FWO), engineering arm of the Pakistan Army, has embraced Shahadat at spillway of the dammed Hunza River, while trying to rescue three stranded soldiers.
According to details two excavators got stuck in middle of the spillway, while returning to their base camp, after conducting excavation work on the Attabad side of the river. Two soldiers were on one of the excavators while one soldier was on the other.
On getting the news, Colonel Arif rushed to Attabad from Gilgit. The rescue efforts could, however, not be started Thursday night because of darkness. Colonel Arif, reportedly, consoled the stranded soldiers and asked them to stay calm till the morning.
On Friday morning the brave officer tried to reach the land excavators stuck in middle of the spillway with the help of a rope. According to reports, rope being used to reach the excavators snapped and Colonel Arif lost his balance, getting swept away by the gushing water of Hunza River.
Eye-witnesses reports reveal that after falling into the gushing spillway water, Col. Arif tried at least thrice to reach towards the bank but the strong water flow failed his efforts. He lost control and vanished in the river, as his juniors watched in shock, helplessly.
Professional search and rescue teams were sent to the site but the dead body of Col. Arif could not be found, till filing of this report. The three stranded soldiers were, however, rescued to safety after 18 hours of struggle, starting on the evening of Thursday, May 19.
Local people have hailed the brave officer for risking his own life to save his soldiers.
It is pertinent to note that the FWO has been working on a project aimed at expansion and deepening of the dammed river’s spillway.
Earlier last year a member of the Ismaili Boys Scout Group Aliabad Hunza, Shehzad Sher, had embraced martyrdom at the spillway after being hit by a boulder that fell from Attabad.
Two labourers were also killed at the lake barrier after their tractor was hit by a landslide.
The total number of Attabad landslide related deaths has risen to 23, with the heroic martyrdom of Colonel Arif.