Eight pilgrims killed in Himachal

Shimla: Eight pilgrims, mostly from Kanpur city of Uttar Pradesh, were killed and 35 others injured when a bus in which they were travelling skidded off the road and fell into a 250-foot deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh, police said Sunday.

The victims included six men and two women. The injured were admitted to Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital in Tanda, 30 km from the accident spot, and were out of danger.

The pilgrims, who had returned from Amarnath and Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir, were on a visit to prominent Hindu shrines of this hill state in Kangra district.

The accident took place near Brajeshwari ghat near Kangra fort on the outskirts of Kangra town, 250-km from state capital Shimla, around 10 p.m. Saturday, police officer Mulk Raj said over phone.

“They were travelling from Chamunda Devi temple to Jwalaji temple when the accident occurred,” he said.

Witnesses told police that the bus driver probably lost control over the vehicle when it was descending a steep gradient. “After hitting a mountain, the bus rolled down the gorge,” a police official said.

It took hours for rescuers and police to climb down the mountain and bring up the bodies. Even the rainfall in the region hampered the rescue operation, police officials said.

Eyewitnesses said the administration had a tough time in extricating the victims from the bus, although locals started the rescue operations before the authorities could reach the spot.

The accident spot has earned the notoriety of being accident-prone as it has seen several road accidents in the recent past.

IANS

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