At least 13 persons, including former MLA and senior BJP leader Mehar Singh Chauhan, were killed and more than 35 others injured when a Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus fell into a 150-foot gorge at Balghar near Theog, 35 kms from here, this evening.
Eight women and two children died on the spot, while three others, including Chauhan, a former Janata Party MLA from Theog who later joined BJP, succumbed to their injuries on way to hospital.
The HRTC bus was on its way from Theog to Neri in Hamirpur and met with the accident within a few minutes after it left the Theog bus stand.
Shimla Superintendent of Police Abhishek Dullar earlier said, "Eight women and two children died on the spot and their bodies have been handed over to their relatives after on-the- spot post-mortem, while the injured have been rushed to the Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC)." The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained and police have registered a case and started investigations.
Himachal Pradesh Governor Urmila Singh and Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh have expressed grief over the accident, and conveyed their condolences to the relatives of the victims.
Expressing grief over the accident, State Transport Minister G S Bali announced an immediate relief of Rs 2.50 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased, and injured persons.
Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes, who is also the local MLA, has expressed grief over the accident.
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the mishap.