At least 44 people were killed and 34 injured when a private bus veered off the road and rolled into a 500-ft deep gorge at Banjar in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district, police officials said.
Earlier Banjar’s Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) M.R. Bhardwaj put the death toll at 32, while indicating it could go up.
“The death toll can go up as the relief and rescue operations are still going on. At least 30 people have sustained injuries,” he said. The 42-seater bus was reportedly carrying close to 60 people.
“The bus was on its way from Banjar to Gadagushani-Khauli and rolled down into the gorge near Byoth Morh (curve). The injured were rushed to civil hospitals in Banjar and Kullu. Teams of the district administration and district disaster management authority, along with doctors and ambulances, were rushed to the spot for the rescue and relief operations,” the official said.
Expressing grief, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said a magisterial enquiry had been ordered. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Deeply saddened by the bus accident in Kullu. Condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.”
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also offered condolences.
The Kullu district administration has announced an immediate relief of ₹50,000 each to the kin of the deceased and injured.