At least 30 passengers were killed and 35 injured yesterday after their vehicle fell in a gorge in a mountainous region of Himachal Pradesh state, officials said.
The private bus was filled with more than 65 people, some of them sitting on the roof, when it plunged into a 150m-deep gorge in Kullu district of the Himalayan state.
Kullu police chief Shalini Agnihotri said that authorities launched a rescue operation immediately and moved the injured to hospitals. She said the toll could rise further.
Local media showed the mangled remains of the bus near a stream at the bottom of the gorge as locals made human chains to help survivors cross it.
Most of the passengers were from Kullu and Mandi districts.
The injured included school and college students from Banjar who were returning home.
Eyewitnesses said the bus was overcrowded and the driver probably lost control while negotiating a turn.
Eyewitness Ramesh Thakur said rescuers had a tough time in extracting the victims from the vehicle and the gorge.
Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed grief over the incident.
The spot of the accident, about 250km from Shimla, is one of the remotest places in the state.
Scarcity of buses and poor frequency of government-run buses in this remote district are blamed for overloading of public transport vehicles.
The Kullu district administration has provided Rs50,000 as immediate relief to the families of the victims.
A magisterial probe has been ordered.
Prime Minister Modi offered his condolences to the bereaved families. He said he was deeply saddened by the bus accident and hoped the injured would recover soon.
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