At least 52 persons, including eighteen women were killed and 46 others were injured when an overcrowded private bus rolled 250 feet down into a gorge near Rajera, 8-KM from district headquarters Chamba this morning.
The ill-fated 42-seater was carrying about 100 persons with large number of passengers travelling on the roof when the tragedy struck. .As many as 39 persons including the driver of the bus died on the spot while thirteen persons succumbed to their injuries in the hospital.
“ALL the bodies have been recovered and post mortem of 39 people was conducted on the spot and remaining thirteen in the hospital and bodies of all the victims were handed over to the relatives”, Sunil Chowdhary, Deputy Commissioner and Chamba said.
The number of causalities was more as people were travelling on the roof and the accident occurred as the rear wheel of the vehile burst and bus lost its balance and rolled 250 feet down into the gorge. The bus rolled several times and its roof was torn apart but the
conductor of the bus had a miraculous escape, eye-witnesses said.
Most of the victims which also included two children were from nearby areas while 46 injured persons were shifted to hospital at chamba and the condition of at least a dozen injured persons was stated to be critical.
The Vidhan sabha Speaker Tulsi ram and local MLA, B.K, Chauhan rushed to the spot immediately and supervised the relief and rescue operation under taken by the DC and SP.
The deputy Commissioner said that the victims were not Mani Mahesh pilgrims and the accident took place in another road which had no link to Mani Mahesh.
The district admistration distributed immediate relief of Rs 10,000 to the next of the victims out of total relief of Rs 1-lakh payable to them while seriously injured were provided medical aid and relief of Rs 5000 each.
A Magisterial enquiry has been instituted to ascertain the cause of the accident.
The chief minister P.K.Dhumal, Speaker Tulsi ram, leader of the opposition Vidya Stokes, BJP Vice President Shanta kumar and several other leaders have expressed deep shock and grief over the accident and conveyed their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.
Chief Minister has directed the administration to provide immediate relief to the people and ensure that injured were given proper treatment.