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71 killed as truck falls into gorge in Himachal Pradesh

At least 71 members of a marriage party were killed and 10 injured when a truck carrying them fell into a 250-ft-deep gorge in Hamirpur district in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday night.

A magisterial inquiry, headed by Hamirpur additional district magistrate L S Chaudhary, has been ordered into the accident.

Official sources, however, put the toll at 66. While 45 people died on the spot, others succumbed to their injuries at the Hamirpur district hospital where the injured were admitted, they said. One of the six seriously injured, who were rushed to a hospital at Chandigarh, died on the way, they said. The deceased included women and children.

Hamirpur superintendent of police Sanjeev Ranjan Ojha said that the toll was likely to go up as some bodies were still lying under the ill-fated truck which was badly damaged in the accident.

The truck carrying more than 80 people fell into the gorge called Kasota Nala near Gudwin village, eight km from Hamirpur town, when the driver reportedly lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a curve, official sources said.

The marriage party from Baroha village was bound for Bihad village in the district, they said.

Hamirpur police chief, deputy commissioner and other senior officials rushed to the spot to launch rescue operations. The district administration has announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 25,000 each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 5,000 each for the injured.


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