22 Pilgrims Die, 57 Injured As Bus Falls Into Gorge

Jammu: At least 22 pilgrims, including nine women and two children, lost their lives and 57 others were injured after a bus lost control and fell into a deep gorge at Akhnoor in Jammu district on Thursday.

Inspector Tariq Ahmed, station house officer of Akhnoor police station, informed that the accident took place in the afternoon at Tungi Morh, 12 km from Akhnoor, on the Jammu-Poonch National Highway.

The bus, from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, was on way to Shiv Khori shrine, devoted to Lord Shiva, near Reasi town which was 50 km away from the accident spot.

“As of now, we are not clear how many passengers were on the bus as rescue operations are still underway,” Ahmed said.

Giving details of the casualties, Akhnoor sub-division block medical officer Dr Saleem Khan said that most of the injured have been shifted to the government medical college and hospital in Jammu, while some are being treated at the sub-district hospital in Akhnoor.

According to a witness, the bus approached a curve at high speed, spun off the highway and fell into the gorge, reported Hindustan Times.

Jammu & Kashmir Transport commissioner Rajinder Singh Tara blamed the driver for the deadly mishap.

“The curve here is very ordinary and there shouldn’t have been any difficulty, but maybe the driver fell asleep, and he couldn’t negotiate the cut. Instead of taking the turn, the bus went straight and went down,” ANI quoted him as saying.

President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish over the accident.

“Anguished by the loss of lives due to a bus mishap in Akhnoor. My thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones. I pray that the injured recover soon. Rs 2 lakh would be given to the next of kin of each deceased due to the bus mishap. The injured would be given Rs 50,000,” the PMO stated.

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