Twenty-seven people including 23 school students were killed when a bus plunged into a deep gorge on Monday in Himachal Pradesh’s Nurpur, about 100km from Dharamsala.
The accident was reported around 4.30pm near the Nurpur-Chamba highway. The children were students of Wazir Ram Singh Pathania Memorial School, police said. The private school bus was ferrying 45 schoolchildren home after school.
The bus driver, two women teachers and an unidentified woman who was hitch-hiking were among the dead.
Kangra deputy commissioner Sandeep Kumar said the deceased children were aged between 5 and 11. “Prima facie the driver lost control over the wheel while negotiating a sharp curve,” said the deputy commissioner.
An injured student, Ranveer Singh, said he survived after falling out of a window of the bus as it began rolling down the gorge.
“I heard a loud bang and the bus starting rolling down the hill. Just then,the window of my seat broke and I and a girl sitting by my side fell down,” said Singh, who was admitted at the Nurpur hospital. Teams of local administration and the National Disaster Response Force were involved in the rescue operations and faced difficulties in pulling out the victims from the mangled remains of the bus.
The injured were rushed to the Nurpur civil hospital from where eight critically injured were shifted to a Pathankot hospital.
The government has announced an ex gratia of Rs 5,00,000 to the next of kin of those killed and free treatment to injured. A magisterial inquiry into the incident has been ordered.