By : Mohan Verma
As many as 13 tourists were killed and 50 others were injured when a private bus skidded off the road and fell down into a 110 meter deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh’s Sirmaur district last evening, police said.
Majority of the tourists were from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. The bus carried around 55 tourists and was on its way to Renuka ji from Paonta Sahib in the hill state.
It met with an accident near Madhara Ghat, some 15 km from Renuka and 50 km from district headquarters Nahan, Superintendent of Police Balvir Thakur informed. The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained, he said.
The injured were admitted in government hospitals in Nahan, Paonta Sahib and Dadahu.
Witnesses said police had a tough time extricating the bodies from the wreckage of the bus as it was a night time and darkness was hampering rescue operations.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh expressed shock and grief over the accident and directed the district administration to take all possible measures to rescue the victims and provide them adequate relief.
Mr. Thakur said he himself rushed to the spot when he received information about the accident.
Thirteen bodies were retrieved from the spot as they had been trapped inside and under bus.
He said forty injured were hospitalized at Dadahu civil hospital and ten critically injured were rushed to Nahan district hospital.
Police handover the bodies of deceased to their relatives after conducting post-mortem this morning.
Rescue operation last till mid night as some of the bodies were brought out after lifting wreckage of bus by crane. The bodies were so much mutilated in the mishap, that it forced the police to not allow subscriber to take photograph as such.