HP: 13 killed, 2 injured as bus falls into 200-ft gorge in Kullu

Shimla/Manali, Jul 4 (PTI) Thirteen passengers were killed and two others injured after a private bus carrying them fell into a 200-foot deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district on Monday, officials said.

The bus was on its way to Kullu from Shainsher when it fell into the gorge at a hairpin bend near Jangla village around 8.30 am, the officials said.

Initial reports had put the death toll at 16.

A relative of Jhablu Devi, who died in the accident, alleged callous attitude on the part of the authorities in rescuing the victims.

“It took almost three hours to take Jhablu Devi from the accident site to the hospital. Had the administration acted swiftly, some lives could have been saved,” said Jhablu’s brother-in-law Tej Prakash.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur visited the accident site near Shainshar in Sainj Valley of Kullu where he condoled the family members of the victims and assured every possible assistance to them.

Talking to the media, he admitted that the rescue work started a bit late as the accident site was located in the remote area.

Twelve of the 13 dead have been identified as Tanu, Prem Chand, Fateh Chand, Anita Devi, Susheel Kumar, Khim Dasi, Roshi Devi, Parvati Devi, Jhablu Devi, Amit Kumar Rajak, Aaksh and Rakhi Maya.

The injured were admitted to the Kullu regional hospital for treatment, the officials said.

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have condoled the loss of lives in the accident.

President Kovind said he was distressed to learn about the deaths of several people in the accident.

Condoling the loss of lives, Prime Minister Modi announced Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who died. The injured will be given Rs 50,000 each, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet.

Expressing grief over the tragic accident, the chief minister said a magisterial inquiry has been ordered and the Kullu ADM will probe the whole incident.

The CM said Rs 5 lakh will be provided to the next of the kin of the each dead whereas Rs 15,000 will be provided as immediate relief to each injured. He said free treatment will also be given to the injured persons.

Thakur thanked the prime minister for approving an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the each dead and Rs 50,000 for the each injured.