A private bus fell into a deep gorge in Uttarakhand's Pauri district on Sunday morning killing at least 48 people and injuring 10 others, police said. The 28-seater bus was carrying 58 passengers, they said.
"The accident occurred near Gween village, close to Dhumakot, when the bus on way to Ramnagar fell into a 200 metre deep gorge killing 45 persons on the spot and leaving 13 injured," Pauri Superintendent of Police (SP) Jagat Ram Joshi told PTI on the phone.
The accident took place at around 8.30 am, he said.
Three more succumbed to injuries later during the day at the primarcy health centre (PHC), Dhumakot, where the injured were rushed after rescue teams reached the spot, Joshi said.
Two critically injured were referred to Ramnagar while eight were under treatment at Dhumakot, the SP said.
Though the exact cause of the accident was not yet known, the bus was carrying passengers much beyond its capacity, he said. According to an official, the seating capacity of the vehicle was 28.
One of the possibilities is that the bus fell into the gorge when the driver was trying to negotiate a big waterlogged pothole in the middle of the road, Joshi said referring to initial inputs. The plunge was so forceful that the upper part of the bus separated exposing the seats in the lower part, the SP said.
All bodies were recovered and the injured rescued from the mangled remains of the vehicle which rolled down into the 200 metre deep gorge before crashing into a shallow stream, he said.
Rescue operations were carried out by the police and SDRF personnel, he said.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat visited the accident site and expressed grief at the loss of lives. He ordered a magisterial probe into the accident besides announcing a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured, the Chief Minister's Office said.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed their condolences to the families of those killed in the accident.
Earlier, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief Minister Rawat on the phone to condole the deaths in the accident and offered all possible help in relief and rescue operations.
International body expresses concern over road safety after Uttarakhand accident
An international body on Sunday expressed concern over the lack of "safety features" on roads in hilly areas in the country, following the bus accident in Uttarakhand.
The Geneva-based International Road Federation stressed on the need to install crash-barriers, tough driving license for hill drivers and stricter fitness norms for vehicles.
IRF chairman KK Kapila said in a statement that "a lot needs to be done" to ensure road safety and India "should plan to incorporate the latest technologies and safety features" such as rumble strips and proper signage boards.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jul 02, 2018 07:15:26 IST