Seven Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel died and 30 were injured on Tuesday morning after a bus carrying 39 security personnel, including Jammu and Kashmir police officials, skidded off the road and fell into a riverbed near Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir. The incident took place at around 10 am on Tuesday, allegedly due to brake failure.
Police sources said that the death toll is likely to increase as several personnel have been critically injured. Sources said that nine personnel have suffered serious injuries and are currently being treated in Srinagar.
The vehicle was on its way to Pahalgam from Chandanwari when the accident took place. The injured personnel have been airlifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment. Officials said the ITBP – deployed for Amarnath Yatra duty – were returning after the completion of the annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave.
In an official statement, ITBP said the bus was carrying 37 ITBP personnel, two J&K policemen and two bus staffers.
“In a road accident near Chandanwari Pahalgam in Anantnag district, 6 ITBP personnel got martyred while several others got injured, who are being airlifted to Army hospital, Srinagar for treatment. Further details shall follow,” J-K Police tweeted.
Police sources said that the ITBP vehicle was on its way to Pahalgam when the driver failed to negotiate a curve and the bus fell into a gorge
“It appears the brakes of the bus, operated by Jammu and Kashmir police, failed and the bus slipped off the road. A formal enquiry has been ordered,” an ITBP official said.
#WATCH Injured ITBP personnel rushed to a hospital in Anantnag, J&K
6 ITBP personnel have lost their lives, several injured after a bus carrying 37 ITBP personnel and 2 Police personnel fell into riverbed in Pahalgam pic.twitter.com/7QjiswkUnt
— ANI (@ANI) August 16, 2022
Official sources said that the J-K Police and SDRF officials rushed to the spot while close to two dozen ambulances were put into service to ferry the injured personnel.
“Team of ITBP men with personnel from sister organisations rushed to the spot and relief and rescue operations were started immediately. The dead bodies were recovered and the injured were evacuated for treatment. DG ITBP has expressed his condolences to the families of the jawans who died in the tragic accident. All possible assistance is being provided to the injured,” an ITBP statement said.
Local hospitals in South Kashmir’s Anantnag have been put on alert while the critically injured have been airlifted to Army’s base hospital in Srinagar.
“Anguished to learn about the accident of a bus carrying ITBP and police personnel in Pahalgam, J&K. My prayers and thoughts are with the bereaved families. The injured were rushed to the hospital. May they recover at the earliest,” Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted after the incident.
J-K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha also expressed anguish over the loss of “brave ITBP personnel”. “Deeply anguished by the bus accident near Chandanwari in which we have lost our brave ITBP personnel. My condolences to the bereaved families and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured. All possible assistance is being provided to the injured personnel,” Lt Governor Sinha tweeted.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference Vice-President Omar Abdullah too expressed his anguish over the deaths. “I send my condolences to the families & colleagues of the brave ITBP jawans killed in an accident in Pahalgam today. A number of ITBP personnel have been injured. I send my best wishes for their speedy & complete recovery,” Omar said in a tweet