Jammu: 22 Dead, 57 Injured As Bus Falls Into Gorge; Driver Probably Fell Asleep, Says Official; PM Announces Ex-Gratia

The accident took place at the Tangli morh in the Choki Chora belt of the district, officials said, adding that the bus rolled around 150 feet down into the gorge.

. The bus was ferrying pilgrims from the Kurukshetra area of Haryana to the Shiv Khori area in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district Photo: PTI

At least 22 people were killed and 57 others injured after a bus they were travelling on skidded off the road and rolled down into a gorge in Jammu district on Thursday, officials said.

The accident took place at the Tangli morh in the Choki Chora belt of the district, officials said, adding that the bus, carrying 75 passengers, rolled around 150 feet down into the gorge.

The bus was carrying devotees from Haryana's Kurukshetra and was headed towards Shiv Khori in the Pouni area of Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district.

A police spokesperson noted that the mortal remains of the deceased have been shifted to the Akhnoor sub-district hospital, while of the injured, 7 have been admitted to Akhnoor hospital and 40 to Government Medical College in Jammu.

The official said that rescue operation was underway.

Though initially all injured were taken to Akhnoor hospital, 36 of them including those in critical condition were moved to the GMC.

"More than 36 passengers have been brought to the GMC hospital. Six of them are in a critical condition. Timely treatment is being given to the patients," said Dr Ashutosh Gupta, principal of the hospital.

Of the injured people, there are 25 women, 17 men and 12 children, according to a list released by police.

The injured passengers narrated the incident and said that the driver was negotiating a blind curve was a speeding car was coming from the opposite direction.

The driver tried to negotiate a blind curve but failed, resulting in the vehicle rolling down into the gorge," said Amar Chand, one of the injured persons getting treated at the Akhnoor hospital.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Traffic, Faisal Qureshi, the transport commissioner and other officials visited the scene of the accident and took stock of the rescue efforts. The SSP said that it seemed there was no overloading in the bus.

Meanwhile, the SSP and the deputy commissioner of Jammu also visited the injured persons at the GMC hospital.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed anguish over the lives lost and and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each deceased, while that of Rs 50,000 to the injured.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha expressed anguish over the lost lives. He said, "The bus accident in Akhnoor is heart-rending. 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 a speedy recovery of the injured. The administration is providing all possible assistance to the bereaved families and is also extending medical facilities to those who have been injured," Sinha said.

"An ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to be given to the next of kin of each deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured in the tragic bus accident."