Seventeen people were killed and 26 were injured when a private bus on way from Mandi to Kullu plunged into the Beas river at Bindrabani on the Chandigarh-Manali national highway-21, nearly 5km from here, on Saturday afternoon. The toll can go up as many among the injured are in critical condition.
The injured were rushed to the Mandi Zonal Hospital. The bus (HP-65-3444) left the Mandi bus stand at about noon and met with the accident 25 minutes later. A survivor told the police that the cause of the accident was speeding and bad condition of the road.
Additional superintendent of police Kulbhushan Verma said 14 of those killed have been identified.
Most of those killed belong to Mandi district. A middle-aged couple of Mandi town was among those killed. Tthey were supposed to get off 50 metres ahead of the mishap site. The couple was going to Bindrabani to distribute invitation cards of their daughter’s wedding.
Governor, CM express grief
Governor Acharya Dev Vrat and chief minister Virbhadra Singh condoled the deaths and prayed for the peace of the departed souls.
The chief minister has directed the district administration to provide all possible assistance to the family members of the victims and to those injured in the accident.
Transport minister GS Bali announced an ex gratia of `1lakh each to the next of the kin of the deceased, `25,000 each to the seriously injured, `5,000 each to those who sustained minor injuries. He has also directed the transport department officials to inquire and submit a report citing reasons behind the mishap within 15 days.
A number of ministers also expressed sympathies with the bereaved families.