14 killed in Himachal as bus rolls down gorge

Shimla: Fourteen people, including three women and two children, were killed when a privately-owned overcrowded mini bus rolled down a 700-metre gorge in Himachal Pradesh's Chamba district Saturday, police said.

The bus was going to Himgiri from Chamba town when it fell into the gorge near Saru nullah in Salooni tehsil, some 75 km from district headquarters Chamba, Additional Superintendent of Police Kulwant Thakur told IANS over the phone.

Twelve people were injured in the accident that occurred just two kms short of Himgiri. Police said most of the injured have been admitted to the government hospital in Salooni.

Eyewitnesses said the bus was overcrowded and the driver probably lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a curve.

Locals started rescue operations before the authorities could reach the spot.

Governor Urmila Singh and Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh expressed grief over the incident.

The chief minister directed the district administration to take all possible measures to rescue the survivors and provide them adequate relief.

The spot of the accident, about 525 km from the state capital, is one of the remotest places in the state.

Most of the dead were from Chamba district.

Scarcity of public transport and poor frequency of government-run buses in this far-flung district is blamed for overloading of the vehicles.

Police records say over 800 people die every year in Himachal Pradesh in road accidents. Police have identified 556 accident-prone spots, including 210 on national highways.


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