Sixteen Amarnath pilgrims were killed and around 27 injured, 19 of them critically, when a bus skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and rolled into a deep nullah in the Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, officials said.
The deceased belonged to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh, they said. Two women were among the sixteen who died, they added.
A bus carrying pilgrims skidded off the road, turned turtle, and rolled down into the nullah at the Nachlana belt of Ramban late Sunday afternoon, Senior Superintendent of Police, Ramban, Mohan Lal said.
The Jammu-Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation bus was part of a convoy carrying 3,603 pilgrims from Jammu to the twin base-camps of Baltal and Pahalgam enroute the cave shrine of Amarnath in South Kashmir Himalayas, police officials said.
According to the officials, 16 persons, including two women, were killed and around 27 were injured in the accident.
Nineteen injured pilgrims are being airlifted to Jammu for specialised treatment while eight have been admitted to the district hospital in Banihal, they said.
Police, army and Central Reserve Police Force, with help from locals, launched rescue operations and brought out the bodies and the injured persons from the nullah, they said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed pain at the loss of lives of in the accident.
“Extremely pained by the loss of lives of Amarnath yatris due to a bus accident in J-K. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” Modi tweeted.
“I pray that those injured in the bus accident in J-K recover soon,” the prime minister added.
He also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of the Amarnath pilgrims killed in a bus accident in in Jammu and Kashmir and Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured.
“PM announced ex gratia of Rs 2 lakhs for next of kin of those killed & Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured, in the bus accident in J&K (sic),” the Prime Minister’s Office
Photographs: Umar Ganie/Rediff.com, Mukesh Gupta/Reuters