Himachal: Schoolchildren among 16 dead as bus falls into gorge
At least 16 passengers, including school children, died on Monday after a bus plummeted down a gorge in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, NDTV reported. As the bus landed upside down, many bodies are still feared trapped inside the wreckage. The bus was heading to Sainj. The rescue operation is currently underway, and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is assisting the local administration.
As per officials, the incident took place around 8:30 am after the driver probably lost control of the bus. Kullu Deputy Commissioner Ashutosh Garg told NDTV that the bus, headed to Sainj, fell into the gorge near Jangla village. District officials and rescue teams reached the spot immediately, he said, adding that the injured were being treated in a nearby hospital.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacted to the incident, which he described as "heart-rending". "My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I hope that the injured recover at the earliest," he said. He also approved an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each for the kin of those killed in the accident. The injured would be given Rs. 50,000 each.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed condolences for the deceased and said that the National Disaster Response Forces (NDRF) has also been engaged in the rescue efforts. "I convey my condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. I have spoken to the Himachal administration, the rescue operation is going on at full speed. I wish the injured a speedy recovery," he said.
Separately, Himachal Chief Minister Jairam Thakur told media that the local administration is at the accident site to complete the rescue and relief operation smoothly. "The entire administration is present at the spot and the injured are being taken to the hospital. I pray to God to give peace to the departed souls and strength to bereaved families," he tweeted in Hindi.