At least 48 people were killed and 10 others injured after a private bus fell into a deep gorge in Uttarakhand's Pauri district on Sunday. Police said the "overloaded" bus that was carrying 58 passengers, was passing through Gween village near Dhumakot.
On its way to Ramnagar, the bus fell into a 200 metre deep gorge killing 45 persons on the spot and leaving 13 injured," Pauri SP Jagat Ram Joshi told PTI on the phone.
The accident took place at around 8.30 AM, he said.
Three more succumbed to injuries later during the day at the PHC, Dhumakot, where the injured were rushed after rescue teams reached the spot, Joshi said.
Two critically injured were referred to Ramnagar while eight were under treatment at Dhumakot, the SP said.
Though the exact cause of the accident was not yet known, the bus was carrying passengers much beyond its capacity, he said.
One of the possibilities is that the bus fell into the gorge when the driver was trying to negotiate a big waterlogged pothole in the middle of the road, the official said referring to initial inputs.
The plunge was so forceful that the upper part of the bus separated exposing the seats in the lower part, the SP said.
All bodies were recovered and the injured rescued from the mangled remains of the vehicle which rolled down into the 200 metre deep gorge before crashing into a shallow stream, he said.
Rescue operations were carried out by the police and SDRF personnel, he said.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat visited the accident site and expressed grief at the loss of lives.
He ordered a magisterial probe into the accident besides announcing a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the injured, the CMO said.
Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Kovind conveyed their condolences to the families of those killed in the accident.
Extremely saddened by the bus accident in Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. My deepest condolences to the bereaved families. I pray that those injured recover at the earliest. Rescue operations are underway and authorities are providing all possible assistance at the accident site: PM— PMO India (@PMOIndia) July 1, 2018
Very sad to learn about the tragic bus accident in Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. Rescue efforts are on and local authorities are doing their utmost to help. My condolences to the bereaved facilities and best wishes to those injured #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) July 1, 2018
Earlier, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief Minister Rawat on the phone to condole the deaths in the accident and offered all possible help in relief and rescue operations.
(With PTI inputs)