35 passengers die in Kishtwar road mishap

At least 20 passengers were killed when a mini bus rolled down a hilly road and fell into deep gorge in Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar district. (File Photo)

At least 35 passengers died while 17 others were injured when a mini-bus, they were travelling in skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge at Thakrie area of Keshwan in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday.

Reports said the mini-bus (JK17-6787) was on its way from Keshwan to Kishtwar, when driver lost control on the steering while negotiating a sharp curve. The vehicle skidded off the road and rolled down about 250 feet and fell into a nallah at Sirgwari (Thakrie) near Kuryal Pul, about 23 KM from Kishtwar town.

Officials said the bus with the seating capacity of 25 passengers was carrying 52 passengers when it met the accident. After receiving information about the mishap, Police, SDRF, and Red Cross society along with locals rushed to the spot and started a rescue operation. Later, Army also joined the rescue operation, they said.

All passengers were shifted to District Hospital Kishtwar, where doctors declared 23 as brought dead while 12 more succumbed to their injuries, taking toll to 35.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi while calling the accident heart-wrenching, tweeted: “The accident in Jammu and Kashmir's Kishtwar is heart-wrenching. We mourn all those who lost their lives and express condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover at the earliest.”

On June 27, 11 students, including nine girls, of a private computer training institute died after their mini bus fell into a gorge in Pir Ki Gali area of the Mughal Road that connects the Rajouri-Poonch districts in the Jammu division with Kashmir.

Overloading, over-speeding and bad roads have led to tragic accidents in Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Poonch and other hilly districts of the state in the past as well. 

According to official data, traffic accidents consume twice of the number of lives than militancy. Official data reveals that last year alone, over 900 people were killed in 5,529 road accidents across the state while another 7,250 were injured.

As per the records since 2011, on an average, 15 accidents take place every day. A person gets killed in an accident every seven hours while someone is left injured every hour. In the last one decade over ten thousand people have died in road accidents. 

While the authorities blame the accidents on negligent driving on tricky and winding mountainous roads, people point out that paucity of public transport options has led to a surge in vehicle ownership, increasing the odds of mishaps.

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