At least 13 people were killed in Upper Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday, including nine Chinese nationals, after a bus fell into a ravine, local government and police officials said. In a statement issued after the incident, the Foreign Office said the bus “plunged into a ravine after a mechanical failure resulting in leakage of gas that caused a blast”. The FO also put the death toll at 12, including 9 Chinese nationals, up from earlier reports of 10 deaths. Meanwhile, the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), in a statement, termed the incident an ‘accident’. A WAPDA spokesman confirmed that employees of a Chinese company were travelling in the bus, adding that rescue efforts were under way at the site of the incident and the injured were being shifted to a hospital. He added the site had been cordoned off by police and Rangers. Using an air ambulance, rescuers took the injured, including Chinese engineers, to a hospital in Dasu, about 10 km from the blast site, authorities said. “Police and the bomb disposal squad are at the site,” said regional official Arif Khan Yousufzai outside the hospital, adding that an investigation was awaited to ascertain details. The foreign ministry said it was in close contact with the Chinese embassy in Islamabad, adding in a statement, “Pakistan attaches great importance to the safety and security of Chinese nationals, projects and institutions.” Soon after the incident, Upper Kohistan Deputy Commissioner Arif Khan Yousafzai said that it took place around 7:30am when a coaster was carrying over 30 workers, including Chinese engineers, from the Barseen camp to the plant site. He said other than engineers, Frontier Corps personnel and local labourers were also aboard the bus when the explosion took place. Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have for several years been working on hydroelectric projects as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative in the western province of Khyber Paktunkhwa. “China is shocked & saddened at reports of causalities in the incident in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Province. We mourn for those who lost their lives & express sympathy to their families & the injured,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian tweeted.