Eight days after the tragic accident in which a bus with 69 people on board plunged into the Parvati River near Sarsari village, search and rescue teams have been unable to locate 34 passengers with only 12 bodies fished out till now. Of these one victim remains unidentified.
Relatives of those still missing have become desperate with many of them wandering near the accident site in hopes, which are swiftly evaporating, of finding their loved ones.
Gurmail Singh, a resident of Mansa district in Punjab, whose 22-year-old son Preet Singh was on the ill fated bus, said the tragedy had left him and his family members shattered. "I'm now a completely broken man and my wife continuously asks me about whether our son has been found," he told this reporter.
After the tragedy Gurmail and his family members arrived at the accident site along with his relatives and have been milling around in the scorching heat every day for any sign of Preet but without success, leaving them completely depressed. Like him there are about other 40 relatives of the missing bus passengers camping in Kullu, hoping against hope the search teams will be able to locate them.
The district administration has deployed 160 diving experts and others including personnel of the National Disaster Response Force, Sashastra Seema Bal (armed border force), Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the police in the search operation. The state government has now sought the assistance of the Indian navy for employing sonar, a technique that uses sound propagation, in the search efforts.
Meanwhile, families of the bus passengers whose bodies have been retrieved have urged the Punjab government to give a compensation of `10 lakh to each of them.