25 killed after bus full of Hindu pilgrims falls into gorge in India

·2-min read
The bus was carrying passengers from Madhya Pradesh to Yamunotri – a major Hindu religious spot in Uttarakhand (One India News / YouTube)
The bus was carrying passengers from Madhya Pradesh to Yamunotri – a major Hindu religious spot in Uttarakhand (One India News / YouTube)

Twenty-five people were killed and three critically injured on Sunday when a bus carrying 28 pilgrims fell into a gorge in Uttarakhand in northern India.

Local reports said the bus was carrying passengers from another Indian state, Madhya Pradesh, to Yamunotri – a major Hindu religious spot in Uttarakhand.

Police said the bus fell into a 250m-deep gorge near Damta in Uttarkashi district around 7pm on Sunday. Officials said the impact of the fall was so massive that the bus broke into pieces as it rolled into the gorge.

The vehicle was part of nearly 30 pilgrim buses from Madhya Pradesh’s Panna district. They were being used for the ongoing Char Dham Yatra, an annual religious journey to four pilgrimage sites in India.

Sunday’s tragic accident was the third such incident since the Char Dham Yatra began on 3 May. Five people were killed and 23 were injured in two earlier accidents.

Shalini Negi, a senior official from Uttarkashi, told the local media that the injured were undergoing treatment at a local hospital.

Uttarkashi superintendent of police Arpan Yadhuvanshi said bodies were “scattered down the hill” and that rescue operations will take time to be completed.

Relatives of the victims were inconsolable.

Bala Kateha, a resident of Mohendra village in Madhya Pradesh told NDTV: “I lost my brother Menkaprasad in the accident. I don’t know what to do. My brother was very excited to go for the Char Dham yatra. I was also supposed to go but couldn’t go due to some reason.”

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced a compensation of Rs 200,000 (£2,051) each for the families of those who lost their lives in the accident and Rs 50,000 (£500) for those injured in the accident.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami wrote on Twitter that he has urged the district administration to “ensure a speedy rescue operation and relief to the injured”. He has also ordered an investigation into the accident.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, is expected to reach Dehradun in Uttarakhand soon to oversee the situation.

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