Many dead after pilgrim bus falls into gorge in northern India

At least 26 people die after bus in a mountainous region in northern India plunges into a gorge, police and media reports say.

Uttarakhand accident
The accident happened near Damta in Uttarkashi district, about 160km (100 miles) from Uttarakhand's capital Dehradun [File: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]

At least 26 people have died and four others were injured after a bus in a mountainous region of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand plunged into a gorge, police and media reports said.

The bus was carrying 30 people, including the driver, to Yamunotri, the remote Hindu pilgrimage site in the Himalayan state, when it went off the road on Sunday evening.

The accident happened near Damta in Uttarkashi district, about 160km (100 miles) from the state capital Dehradun.

“The injured persons have been rushed to the nearby medical facilities,” district police superintendent Arpan Yaduvanshi said.

Yaduvanshi added that rescue workers were still looking for a missing passenger and the death toll “may increase further”.

The bus was carrying 28 tourists from the Panna district in Madhya Pradesh, local media reports said.

The picturesque Uttarakhand has some of the holiest Hindu sites and receives millions of pilgrims each year, but has a poorly maintained and notoriously dangerous network of Himalayan roads.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a compensation of 200,000 Indian rupees ($2,575) each from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the families of those killed in the accident. The injured will receive 50,000 rupees ($644) each.

India’s home minister Amit Shah said he was in touch with the local authorities about the ongoing relief work for the “very sad” incident.

Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said the state administration and rescue teams are on the scene.

Dhami’s Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan called the incident “unfortunate” and said he is in constant touch with the Uttarakhand government and district administration.

“Arrangements are being made for the treatment of the injured and bringing the bodies of the deceased to Madhya Pradesh. The families should not consider themselves alone in this time of crisis. We all are with the grieving families,” he tweeted.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies