Twenty-eight people died and eight others were injured when a private bus skidded off the road and fell into a 700-ft gorge at Khaneri near Rampur on the Hindustan-Tibet National Highway in Himachal Pradesh Thursday. The bus was on its way from Reckong Peo in Kinnaur to Nauni in Solan district. The accident was apparently caused when one of its tyres burst.
Local residents said the bus was a mangled heap after the accident, with bodies scattered over the mountain slope and the injured crying for help. They said it was extremely difficult to carry them back to the road. Shimla DC Rohan Chand Thakur said the rescue team included medical teams, police, Army and CISF personnel, besides Home Guards and fire personnel.
By the evening, rescue work was complete. The eight injured were rushed to hospital, four of them to IGMC Shimla.
Most of the deceased were from Kinnaur. Of the 28 who died were 18 men, nine women and a child. Twenty bodies have been identified and handed over to their families. Thakur said he had ordered Rampur sub-divisional magistrate Nipun Jindal to probe the mishap.
Family members of each deceased have been provided an instant relief of Rs 1 lakh by the state government.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Governor Acharya Devvrat expressed shock over the accident and asked local authorities to provide relief and medical care to the injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, through a tweet, conveyed his condolences to the victims’ families.