About 18 passengers died and five others were critically injured after a bus fell near a river in Mandakani valley at Ghaat in Chamoli district on Saturday afternoon.
The injured passengers were taken to the district hospital of Gopeshwar for medical aide and are said to be recuperating.
This was the second such incident this week. On Wednesday, 13 passengers died when a bus fell into gorge near Devprayag in Tehri district. Later, chief minister Harish Rawat had announced `1 lakh compensation to the families of the deceased.
In Saturday’s accident, search and rescue operation was taken by the Indo-Tibetan border police, local police and the administration. The driver lost control over the bus and it plunged into the 250 metres deep ravine, about 40-50 metres away from river stream at Ghaat. The bus, Nanda Devi Express, belonged to a private agency and was on its routine route from Haridwar to Ghaat when the accident occurred, the police said.
Four of the 18 deceased persons died on the way to the hospital. The injured persons are undergoing treatment at the hospital and are said to be recovering. According to the police, all the bodies were recovered and identified. The police failed to tell the exact number of passengers travelling in the bus.
Meanwhile, CM Rawat has announced `1 lakh each to family members and other dependents of the deceased persons. Expressing his sorrow over the accident, Rawat said, “It’s sad that two bus accidents have taken place within a week. I have ordered an inquiry by the district magistrate into the case. The exact cause of accident will be known after that.”
“The exact number of passengers in the bus will be known only after survivors will able to speak,” said Sunil Meena, superintendent of police, Chamoli.