By : Mohan Verma
As many as 17 persons including 4 women were killed on the spot and 21 others were injured, 5 of them were in critical condition, when a private bus rolled 450 meters deep gorge near village Milla in Shillai area of Sirmaur district, 150 km from Shimla this afternoon.
7 persons died on the spot, 2 on the way to hospital while 8 persons succumbed to their injuries in hospital at Paonta Sahib, Sirmaur SP Ms. Sumedha said.
SDM Paonta Sahib Shrawan Manta said that bodies of all deceased have been recovered from the spot.
The injured persons were rushed to nearby Shillai hospital and shifted to sub-divisional hospital, Paonta Sahib after administering first aid.
The condition of 5 injured persons was critical. The deceased were identified as Dimpal (12), Attar Singh (38), Nisha (35),Vir Singh (37), Santosh (17), Chander Kala (17), Tapender (14) Jayanti Devi (40) and Santo (45), while seven diseased are yet to be identified.
Most of the accident victims hail from Milla and Magnal village while 1 of the deceased was from village Phadog.
Eye witnesses at Shillai told on phone that the driver and conductor of the ill fated bus fled after the accident and are untraceable. They claimed that the bus rolled down after the front tyre developed some snag.
The cause of the accident could not be ascertained but the survivors said that driver lost control while negotiating a curve and the vehicle rolled down.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and State Transport Minister G.S. Bali have expressed deep shock and grief over the tragedy and directed the administration to provide all possible help to the victims.
SDM said that immediate relief of Rs. 20,000 has been provided to the next kin of each deceased immediate relief and Rs. 15,000 have been disbursed on the spot.