Twenty-one persons were killed and 60 injured in two separate incidents involving Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) buses in Shimla district on Wednesday.
An HRTC bus en route to Shimla rolled down a 300-ft-deep gorge at Kadharghat near Basantpur, 60 km from here, around 4 pm. Shimla superintendent of police (SP) DW Negi said 21 bodies (14 men and seven women) had been recovered, while five injured persons, including the driver, had been referred to the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital here. Fourteen bodies have been identified so far.
The state government has ordered a magisterial probe into the accident. Police sources said poor visibility due to bad weather probably led to the mishap.
Subdivisional magistrate (SDM), Shimla rural, GS Negi and the Shimla SP supervised the rescue operations. A crane was pressed into service to remove the wreckage and recover the bodies. Officials said some of the bodies were mutilated. An HRTC official said it was a 2011 model bus which had completed 3.5 lakh km, adding that the driver had experience of around 12 years.
Meanwhile, about 55 people were injured when a 42-seater HRTC bus met with an accident at Mihana village, about 55 km from here.
The bus had left Janahan for Shimla at 8am. At the time of the accident, it had around 70 passengers as those from another bus had boarded it too due to a technical glitch in another HRTC bus.
Local people said the skidded but did not go off the road. About 55 people who received minor injuries were being treated at the civil hospital, Theog.
Transport minister GS Bali said a magisterial probe had been ordered into the Basantpur accident. "Tough action would be taken against those found guilty," he said. He added that bad weather could have been the key factor. Regarding the other accident, he said overloading was evidently a reason and he would take stern action after receiving the report in this regard.
June 16, 2014: 14 killed as tourist bus falls into gorge in Sirmaur
May 26, 2014: 14 killed in road accident near Theog in Shimla district as government bus skids off road
April 8, 2014: 18 die in accident involving private bus in Shillai (Sirmaur)
September 2013: 21 killed as private bus skids off road at Renuka in Sirmaur district
May 8, 2013: More than 30 killed as overcrowded private bus plunges into Beas river at Jhiri on Kullu-Mandi national highway