16 Amarnath yatris die as bus falls into gorge
At least 16 Amarnath bound pilgrims were killed and 29 others received serious injuries as the bus in which they were travelling veered off the hilly road on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and plunged into a gorge near Nachilana in Banihal of Ramban district of Jammu division on Sunday around 1.45 pm.
According to police, the driver of the State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) bus, bearing registration number JK02Y-0594, lost control over the wheels after one of the front tyres burst pushing the bus deep into a gorge.
“Eleven Amarnath pilgrims died on the spot while five other succumbed to injuries in Banihal District Hospital”, the police spokesman added.
IAF pressed a chopper to ferry 18 seriously injured pilgrims to Jammu Medical College Hospital. 11 others were rushed to Srinagar for medical treatment, said the police spokesman.
Chairman of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board and J&K Governor NN Vohra visited the accident site along with the Chief Secretary and the DGP of State police to take stock of the rescue operations.
Vohra has directed the State administration to ensure that no bus from the corporation is deployed without fitness certification.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti have expressed shock over bus tragedy.
“Extremely pained by the loss of lives of Amarnath Yatris due to a bus accident in J&K. My thoughts are with families of the deceased,” Modi tweeted.
Out of 16 deceased pilgrims only 7 have been identified. Four pilgrims hailed from Bihar, two from Rajasthan and the driver of bus belonged to Jammu. 29 injured pilgrims hail from Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the police spokesman said.
The Prime Minister has announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of the Amarnath pilgrims killed in the accident and Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured.
The Shri Amarnath Shrine Board announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the next of kin of the those killed and Rs 1 lakh each to the injured.
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