A 12-year-old girl, Kashaf Dukhtar, was killed, while 25 others injured when a joy-ride operated on a trial basis in Karachi’s newly-inaugurated Askari Amusement Park broke apart on Sunday night.
She and several others were taking rides, one of which had a sudden suddenly collapsed, leaving the survivors wounded.
According to the deceased’s parents, Kashaf was the eldest of six siblings.
The parents further said that she had been sitting on the ride alone and that she had received a deep wound on her head due to which she passed away.
The cause of the swing’s collapse could not be detected immediately, however, the eyewitness who spoke to a local news channel said the swings were overloaded.
One of the wounded who has been identified as Kifayat is currently at the at Jinnah hospital while another one is under treatment at Civil Hospital’s trauma center, according to the spokesman.
The injured people, after being recovered from under the fallen ride, were moved to a private hospital on University Road so that first aid could be administered to them. They were later moved to Civil Hospital and Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre.
Video footage of the horrific incident surfaced on social media soon after the incident, in which visitors can be seen rushing to the scene to try to help those trapped after a part of Discovery, the Frisbee pendulum ride that can spin a complete 360-degree revolution, collapsed to the ground.
This type of ride features a circular gondola that rotates as it swings back and forth. Riders are seated on the gondola facing inward or outward, depending on the model.
Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar also added that the park had opened without any safety measures or tests.
“I DON’T KNOW WHO IS OVERSEEING THE AFFAIRS OF THIS PARK. IT WAS EARLIER OPERATED BY KMC AND THEN WE HANDED IT OVER TO THE CANTONMENT. THIS IS THE PARK ADMINISTRATION’S MISTAKE. THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE ALLOWED CHILDREN TO TAKE RIDES” he said.
Two days before opening, the park’s managing director, Shafqat Jafri, had told The Express Tribune that the machinery had been imported from China. On a query regarding safety checks, he had said that no officials had visited the park yet as there were no laws governing such rides in the country. The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) team, he had said at the time, would visit the park in a few days.
For his part, Karachi Commissioner Sauleh Faruqi, while visiting the park after the incident on Sunday night, failed to identify which government body kept a check and issued NOCs to such parks. “For rescue and defense, we have Civil Defense,” he told media. “But there’s no organization for inspection [of such parks].”
Faruqi added that the Commissioner Office’s administration team, along with the police, had been deployed and the park would remain closed until the inquiry was completed. “The injured have been moved to Liaquat National Hospital,” he said, adding that their treatment cost would be borne by the provincial government. “Experts will be on taken board for the inspection,” he assured.
Meanwhile, the civil bureaucracy and the caretaker government seemed to jolt into action following the incident. Caretaker Chief Minister Fazlur Rehman and Sindh Police chief Amjad Javed Saleemi took notice of the incident and issued directives for inquiry reports to be submitted to them.
The chief secretary, Maj (retd) Azam Suleman Khan, went a step further and ordered the closure of amusement rides across the province for the next three days. The rides, he ordered, would be opened to the public after technical inspection within the three days.
Earlier, a rumor of the Ferris wheel collapsing also went viral. Many news publications and website claimed that it was a part of Askari Park, however, the amusement park soon rolled out a statement clarifying that the incident was in India and not in Karachi.
“It was around 40-feet above the ground when it crashed,” an eye witness Aslam told media “There was a loud bang and people ran here and there,” he said, adding that the park’s management suddenly disappeared from the scene
Rescue teams had rushed to the park to provide immediate medical attention to those in need but faced difficulty reaching the site of the incident as they had to wade through the high concentration of traffic.
Commissioner Saleh Farooqui of Karachi ordered the rides in all the parks across Sindh be closed until a thorough technical inspection is completed.
Eyewitnesses related that there was a loud explosion somewhere in the swing’s mechanism and it fell down from its peak, causing park-goers inside the ride to be slammed onto the ground and being crushed underneath.
Unlike previously, Askari Amusement Park’s management has not rolled out an official statement as of yet.
Multiple notable people took to social media to condemn the incident, offering prayers, urging authorities to question those responsible, and take adequate action.
— Shahmir khan (@Shahmirk5) July 16, 2018
Is anyone answerable in this country? out short term memory lost nation will forget that incident shortly. We dont ask questions that why and how this happened? we dont take any incident seriously. Its just news for us. We have actually dead people….
— Moosani (@Mateenmoosani) July 16, 2018
Sad incident at Askari Amusement Park. I think that all announcement parks (with rides) must be closed till we make or adopt an international level safety standard. Nothing beyond a human life. Safety first! ?#AskariPark #AskariParkAccident
— Mohsin khan BaLoch (@MrMohsinkhan647) July 16, 2018
are you SERIOUS?? A CHILD died last night at an AMUSEMENT PARK. Why? Because we don’t have laws that regulate the safety of these rides. Stop trying to ‘modernize’ Pakistan when you can’t run a goddamn amusement park without killing children. SHAMEFUL. #AskariPark
— Adil Alvi (@AdilAhmedAlvi) July 16, 2018
— Muddasir (@Muddasi58153543) July 16, 2018
Agar Yeh koi #political incident hota to sare media channel is khabar ko aese le k bethe hote jese unki Maa ya baap ho. Yeh bachay bhi quom k bachay hain. Jinhain 2 minutes ki breaking news ki jaga milti he.
— Moosani (@Mateenmoosani) July 16, 2018
Tragic that a Ride “collapsed” or “Fell” at Newly-inaugurated #AskariPark ,Karachi .
A teenage girl died, one person is critical & at least 8 injured.
Responsibility for Negligence must be taken.
Technical issues arise in rides, but soon after Inauguration…? Questionable ! pic.twitter.com/8ZSd5FCrjP
— Faeza Dawood (@FaezaDawood) July 15, 2018
— Sufyan (@Sufyan36259982) July 15, 2018
— HamZah Tweets (@HamZah__Tweets) July 15, 2018