Cold kills 16 stuck in cars in Pakistan

At least 16 people who were stuck in their vehicles have died after temperatures fell to minus 8C during heavy snowfall at a mountain resort town in Pakistan.

Islamabad police officer Atiq Ahmed said eight of the 16 fatalities were from the family of fellow officer Naveed Iqbal, who also died.

All 16 died of hypothermia in the town of Murree, officials said.

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

Located north of the capital of Islamabad, Murree is a popular winter resort that attracts more than a million tourists annually. Streets leading into the city are often blocked by snow in winter.

The interior minister said more than a metre of snow fell in the area overnight and all incoming traffic was blocked on Saturday.

The minister said paramilitary troops and a special military mountain unit had been called in to help.

“Until then no vehicle or even people on foot are allowed to enter Murree except for the emergency and rescue vehicles and those bringing food for the stuck people,” he said.

Umar Maqbool, a local administrator, said the heavy snowfall hampered rescue efforts during the night and even heavy equipment brought in to clear the snow got stuck initially.

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

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