Bus falls into gorge in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, killing 51

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champa-bus-tragedyAug 11, Dharamshala: At least 51 people, including 18 women, were killed and 46 others injured on Saturday when an overcrowded bus rolled into a gorge in Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, police said.

The private bus was on its way to Chamba town when it skidded off the road and fell into the 300-feet deep gorge near Rajera, some 10 km from the town and around 475 km from the state capital.

“So far, we have confirmed 40 dead and 17 injured in the accident in which the bus fell into a gorge that was 250 feet (76 metres) deep,” deputy commissioner Chaudhary said.

The accident occurred on Saturday near Chamba district, a mountainous region some 191 kilometres from state capital Shimla. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

Three days earlier, 31 people were killed when a passenger bus tumbled into a gorge in Meghalaya state in India’s remote north east with police saying the bus driver appeared to have been driving recklessly in rainy weather.

People in the area began rescue operations even before local authorities reached the spot. Most of the victims were from Chamba district. The bus driver was among the dead.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and leader of opposition Vidya Stokes expressed grief over the accident. The state government has initiated a magisterial probe into the accident.

But police blamed buses belonging to private operators and their “reckless, untrained drivers” for most of the fatal accidents in the state. Chamba is one of remotest places in the state and scarcity and low frequency of passenger buses in the district leads to overcrowding of the vehicles.

India has the highest annual road death toll in the world, according to a 2009 World Health Organization report, with accidents caused by speeding, careless driving and poor roads.

News Gathered by India News

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