22 Killed, 57 Hurt as Bus Falls in Gorge in Jammu's Akhnoor

Srinagar: At least, 22 people were killed and 57 were injured after a bus they were travelling in skidded off a hilly road and fell in a 150-feet deep gorge in the Akhnoor area of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.

The police and hospital sources said that the death toll might go up as the condition of six of the 36 injured passengers admitted to Jammu Government-run Medical College Hospital is stated to be “very critical”.

The other injured are being treated in different hospitals and other medical facilities in the Akhnoor town and at other places in the Jammu district.

The officials said that most of those killed and injured were residents of Uttar Pradesh. “They were on their way to the Shiv Khori temple in the Pouni area of J&K’s Reasi district from Haryana’s Kurukshetra,” an official said, adding a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the mishap.

Those who survived the deadly accident told police that the bus bearing registration number UP81CT-4058 which had started its journey from UP several days ago rolled down into the gorge at a place called Tungi-Morh in the Chowki Chora belt of the Jammu district when its driver was negotiating a blind curve and a speeding car was coming from the opposite direction. They said that the driver of the ill-fated bus failed in negotiating the blind curve and skidded off the road.

Block Medical Officer Akhnoor, Muhammad Saleem Khan said that 21 persons were brought dead to a local hospital and around 69 were injured. “The critically injured have been referred to GMC Jammu for specialised treatment,” he added.

The police said that a rescue and rescue operation involving it, the Army and locals was launched in the area immediately after the mishap. The Army, police and locals used ropes and made human chains to carry the bodies and the injured people uphill, it said, adding that the Army used cranes to pull the bus out of the gorge.

J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha expressed his anguish on the bloody incident, terming it "heart-rending". He wrote on micro-blogging site ‘X’, The bus accident in Akhnoor, Jammu is heart-rending. I condole the loss of lives and pray to the Almighty to give the bereaved families the strength to bear the irreparable loss. Praying for the speedy recovery of the injured. The administration is providing all possible assistance to the bereaved families and is also extending medical facilities to those who have been injured.”

He announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to be given to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured in the tragic bus accident.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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