17 labourers killed in Himachal accident

Seventeen labourers, most of them from Jharkhand and Bihar, were killed Tuesday when their vehicle skidded off an icy road and rolled down a 200-ft-deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district, police said.

While the 17 -- who worked for the General Engineering Reserve Force (GREF), a wing of the Border Roads Organisation that maintains the highway passing through rugged Himalayan ranges -- died on the spot, two others were admitted to a nearby hospital, said Superintendent of Police Veena Bharti.

The accident occurred near Spillo in Pooh subdivision, some 30 km from the district headquarters Rekong Peo and 300 km from here, Veena Bharti told IANS on phone.

The labourers, who were involved in road construction, left Spillo for Pooh in the GREF tipper for work. "Since it was snowing heavily in Pooh, the labourers were sent back to their base camp in Spillo. When they were returning, their vehicle met with an accident at 12.45 p.m.," she said.

Prime facie, it seemed that the accident occurred due to heavy snow, Bharti added.

The entire Kinnaur district, one of the most remote places in the state, has been experiencing snowfall for the past two days.

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