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Twenty one pilgrims die, over 60 injured as bus falls into gorge in Jammu

A rescue operation was promptly initiated following the incident, an official said. The wounded were sent to Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu and a nearby hospital in Akhnoor.
Last Updated : 30 May 2024, 10:38 IST
Last Updated : 30 May 2024, 10:38 IST

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Srinagar: At least 21 pilgrims died and over 60 were injured when a bus plunged into a deep gorge at Tanda Morh on the Jammu-Poonch Highway in the Akhnoor area.

A rescue operation was promptly initiated following the incident, an official said. The wounded were sent to Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu and a nearby hospital in Akhnoor.

"A bus carrying devotees from Kurukshetra, Haryana towards Shivkhori, Pouni, when reached near Tungi Morh, Chowki Choura rolled down into a deep gorge, as a result of which 21 passengers died and 40 got injured,” police said.

The bus was navigating the treacherous terrain when it suddenly swerved, skidded off the road, and tumbled down the steep incline, reports said.

Eyewitnesses said the scene was one of utter devastation as twisted wreckage of the bus lay at the bottom of the gorge.

This comes hours after the engine of the Sampark Kranti Express derailed at Jammu railway station on Thursday, officials said. No one got injured in the incident.

Preliminary reports suggested that the bus might have been speeding, a common issue on these perilous mountain roads. Eyewitnesses recounted seeing the bus struggling to navigate a particularly sharp curve just before the crash.

The accident brought to light the dire need for improved road safety and stricter regulations for vehicles traversing the hilly regions.

PM Anguished

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his anguish for the loss of lives due to the bus mishap in Akhnoor. He also announced Rs two lakh for the next of kin of each deceased.

J&K Lieutenant Governor expressed condolences for the loss of lives. Calling the accident ‘heart-rending’, he said, “I condole the loss of lives and pray to the almighty to give the bereaved families the strength to bear the irreparable loss. Praying for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

Rising road accidents

According to a recently released report by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), an alarming total of 4,287 lives were tragically lost due to road accidents from 2018 to 2022 in J&K.

The report reveals 984 lives were consumed by road accidents in 2018 while the figure was 996 in 2019. In Covid-19 hit years of 2020 and 2021, the numbers came down with 728 and 774 deaths respectively before, rising to 805 deaths in 2022.

A significant portion of the road fatalities in J&K were attributed to accidents on National highways, particularly in hilly Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban areas of Jammu region. The treacherous road conditions between Jammu to Srinagar and Jammu to Doda-Kishtwar have led to numerous accidents.

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Published 30 May 2024, 10:38 IST

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