Nine people died and an equal number were injured when their bus skidded off the road and fell into a 200-metre gorge in the remote Churah sub division of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday morning.
The mishap took place at 10.15 am at Colony Mod on the Bondedi-Tissa road in the sub-divisional headquarters of Bhanjraru, 66 km from Chamba, deputy commissioner DC Rana said.
Six people died on the spot, while three succumbed to injuries on the way to the civil hospital at Tissa. Rana said there were 18 passengers on board the private bus (HP73A 1316) that was on its way from Bondedi to Chamba when the accident took place.
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The injured were rushed to the medical college and hospital at Chamba, where the condition of three of them is stated to be critical.
He said the teams of the revenue, police, health and fire departments carried out the rescue operation and evacuated the deceased and injured. “Efforts are on to trace any missing persons,” he said.
Relief announced, CM expresses grief
Immediate relief of ₹ 20,000 has been given to the next of kin of the deceased and ₹5,000 to the injured. A probe by the Tissa sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.
Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur has expressed grief over the loss of lives in the Tissa accident. He said that the district administration has been directed to provide all help to the victims. The injured will be provided free treatment.
Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker Hans Raj, who represents the Churah assembly segment where the accident took place, also expressed grief. He immediately left for the constituency from Shimla, where he was attending the budget session of the assembly.
Hans Raj said more fatalities would have occurred but most passengers, including students, travelling on the bus had alighted at Bhanjraru.