24 killed as bus falls into gorge in Himachal

24 killed as bus falls into gorge in Himachal

It was the second major road accident in the state in less than 24 hours.A private bus coming from Sharounta to Shimla met with an accident at Sanai village near Chaila on the Kotkhai-Theog road, 45 km from here, around 4.30 p.m., Deputy Superintendent of Police Badri Dutt told IANS over phone from the spot.

He said the 29 injured were admitted to the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla.According to Superintendent of Police R.M. Sharma, prima facie it seems that the bus suddenly stopped while ascending and the driver lost control of the bus as its brakes failed. The bus rolled into a gorge.He said the rescue operation is almost over.

Rescue workers said the spot where the accident occurred had been badly damaged due to the recent rains. They said the road was slushy due to the ongoing World Bank-funded road widening project being undertaken by the Longjian Road and Bridge Company Ltd of China.
Local villagers were the first to reach the spot and begin rescue operations.

Governor Urmila Singh, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Leader of Opposition Vidya Stokes expressed grief over the accident.Stokes, who reached the spot, told IANS that the roads in the area were deteriorating due to the recent rains and heavy movement of trucks for transportation of apples these days.

Horticulture Minister Narender Bragta also reached the scene to monitor the relief and rescue operation.On Wednesday evening, 38 people, including 22 women and nine children, were killed and an equal number injured in Mandi district when an overcrowded truck skidded off the road and fell into a gorge.

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