Shimla, June 20 (IANS) At least 30 people were killed and 40 others injured when an overloaded private mini bus skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh on Thursday, police said. Passengers were also sitting on its rooftop.
The accident occurred near Banjar, some 50 km from Kullu town. Most of the passengers travelling in the bus were from Kullu and Mandi districts.
Superintendent of Police Shalini Agnihotri said the private bus was on its way to Gada Gushaini from Kullu when the accident occurred.
Most of the injured have been admitted to hospitals in Kullu and Mandi, she added. The injured included school and college students from Banjar and were returning home.
Eyewitnesses said the bus was overcrowded and the driver probably lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a turn.
Eyewitness Ramesh Thakur said rescuers had a tough time in extracting the victims from the vehicle and the gorge.
Governor Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed grief over the incident.
The spot of the accident, about 250 km from the state capital, is one of the remotest places in the state.
Scarcity of buses and poor frequency of government-run buses in this remote district are blamed for overloading of public transport vehicles.
The Kullu district administration has provided Rs 50,000 as immediate relief to the next of kin of the deceased and injured persons. A magisterial probe has been ordered.