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Uttarakhand: 41 pilgrims killed in bus mishap
October 11, 2007 19:51 IST
Forty-one Badrinath pilgrims from Orissa were killed and two critically injured when a bus carrying them fell into the Alaknanda river in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand on Thursday evening.
The accident took place at Vishnuprayag when the driver of the bus carrying 45 passengers lost control of the wheel on being hit by a boulder which rolled down a hillside due to a landslide in area, police said.
The bus fell into the swirling waters of the Alaknanda, a tributary of the river Ganga, and most of those inside died on the spot, they said, adding that 41 bodies had been retrieved by a rescue team.
Two persons had been rescued and rushed to a nearby hospital where their condition was stated to be critical.
Senior administrative and police officials were at the site supervising the operation and 'long ropes are being used to retrieve the bodies,' police said.
The pilgrims from Orissa were returning to Rishikesh after paying at the Badrinath shrine, situated at an altitude of 3,133 metres in the Garhwal Himalayas.
Police said all the pilgrims were from Ganjam and Puri areas of Orissa.
Chief Minister B C Khanduri has announced Rs 50,000 as ex-gratia to the next of kin of those killed and Rs 25,000 to the injured. Expressing grief over the mishap, he has asked the district authorities to provide the best medical facilities to the injured.