Seventeen people were killed and 34 others injured when a passenger bus rolled down into a 400-feet deep gorge on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway in Ramban district in the wee hours on Tuesday.
The bus, which was on its way to Srinagar from Jammu, skidded off the road and rolled down into the gorge in Digdol area around 2.30am due to alleged negligence of the driver, police said.
17 people, including six women and a child were killed and 34 others injured, 17 of them seriously in the mishap, the police said.
Soon after the accident, army, police, quick response teams, CRPF led by Deputy Superintendent of Police S Bali launched search and rescue operation and recovered the bodies and injured from the gorge, the police said.
The injured are being shifted to District Hospital Ramban, according to the police.
Authorities airlifted 17 critically injured passengers to GMC Hospital in Jammu for treatment, according to the police.
The bus was carrying a group of students from Poonch going to the Kashmir Valley to take part in a recruitment drive and some labourers from Gujarat and Punjab.
Some of the injured told the police that the driver was asked to break the journey and rest for some time but be decided to go ahead.
The accident took place due to the "negligence of the driver", a police officer said. Most of the bodies recovered were badly mutilated, he added.
Newly-elected BJP MP of Udhampur Constituency Jitendra Singh expressed grief over the accident and loss of lives.
Singh, who is in Delhi to attend the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting, urged authorities to provide medicare facilities to the injured and compensation to families of the deceased.
Bus falls in gorge in J&K, 17 killed, several injured