LANDIKOTAL: At least 26 people, including 18 children, were killed on Saturday when one of the two vehicles carrying women and children was swept away in a flash flood in Zakha Khel, turning a wedding party into a mourning procession, while at least four children drowned in a seasonal nullah in Gujarat. In the first incident, political administration officials confirmed the death toll and told Daily Times that the vehicle was carrying more than 30 people, who were bringing the bride from Zerr village, Zakha Khel Bazaar. The incident took place at around 5am, they added. The vehicle, overloaded with mostly women and children, got trapped in a usually dry seasonal stream in the area. The vehicle was swept away by a strong current before it could cross the stream. Witnesses said that locals from the nearby villages rushed to save the women and children, but all efforts remained futile. Political Tehsildar Muhammad Irshad Mohmand ordered carrying out a search and rescue operation to recover the bodies. “We were able to recover 26 bodies from the stream, miles away from the spot where the incident took place. All bodies were handed over to their heirs. Eight of the dead belonged to Zaodin, Zakha Khel area of Bara sub-division, while 18 were from Mir Khan Khel area of Zakha Khel Bazaar,” he added. Khasadar Force Line Officer Hikmat Khan, who had survived a Lashkar-e-Islam attack on the Political Agent’s Khyber office in February 2014, was also present on the spot. “One of the two vehicles carrying the bride and other wedding guests escaped the flood. However, the second vehicle, which was following, got trapped and was washed away,” he added. Hikmat Khan said that Landi Kotal Assistant Political Agent (APA) Rahimullah Mehsud and the tehsildar were supervising the rescue efforts. “The officials also attended the funerals of children and women who lost their lives in the tragic incident,” he added. Roja Gul, a resident of Zakha Khel Bazaar, said that many locals, coming out of the mosques after offering Fajr prayers, rushed to save the drowning guests. “We couldn’t do much, as no one knew exactly what to do to save the minors who were swept away by the furious waves. The incident has left people of the area in deep grief,” he said. He added that the women and children tried to escape the trapped vehicle and ran towards the bank of the stream before being swept away. “The six men sitting on the roof of the pickup truck remained there and only tried to escape as the water receded,” he said. Roja Gul said that one of the guests stood helpless as he watched his wife and two sons swept away by the flood. “He was trying to get himself free from people who stopped him from jumping into the stream. The poor man was left screaming as he saw his family vanish in the muddy water,” he added. In the second incident, four children drowned in moving floodwater while playing outside their house in Gujarat’s Tando area. The victims have been identified as Abdur Rehman, Zikria, Sufian and Farhan. Police, with the help of locals, recovered the bodies of the children after an hour’s struggle. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his immense grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the incident. He also prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls, said a press release.