At least 19 people, many of them women and children, have been killed after a bus carrying guests to a wedding in the northwest region of Pakistan veered off the road into a canal near Peshawar on Friday.

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The accident occurred on the Charsadda road on Friday afternoon, when the bus driver, who was driving recklessly on the road according to eye witnesses and passengers on the bus, lost control and drove the bus off the road and into a Budani canal. The bus driver, who did not sustain serious injuries, fled from the scene of the accident before police officials arrived.

According to police authorities, 19 people were killed in the accident, including women and children, with a further eight passengers sustaining injuries. Six of those who were killed belonged to the same family, all on their way to a wedding in Mardan. The bus was en route from Samar Bagh to the wedding venue in Mardan when the accident happened, with 35 passengers on board.

Rescue workers only arrived on the accident scene more than an hour after the crash had occurred. Rescue personnel worked for hours to recover the 19 bodies from the wreckage of the bus and from the canal, while freeing the eight injured passengers. The injured were transported from the scene to the nearby Lady Reading Hospital by ambulance for treatment. Several of the passengers sustained life-threatening injuries and remain in a critical condition in hospital.

The family names of some of the injured have been released to the media as Pulwey, Sherena, Gurey, Khalida, Usman, Kainat, Sher afzal, Kamran and Mahanoor. A number of the deceased have not yet been identified, and police urge any individuals who are missing family members or may have some knowledge of the people on board the bus to come forward.

CCTV camera footage shows that the accident was the direct result of the negligence of the bus driver. The canal was swollen with flood water and was starting to cover the surface of the bridge when the driver approached. The driver however did not slow down when reaching the bridge, and lost control as he hit the water. The bus was swept off the bridge into the canal.

The Pakistani government has extended their condolences to all those who were affected by the accident, praying for the peace of the deceased and their families, and for the rapid recovery of those who were injured.

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