Ten people died after an overcrowded bus carrying pilgrims to the Vaishno Devi shrine skidded off a bridge and fell into a gorge in Jammu and Kashmir this morning, police said. As many as 55 were injured and have been taken to the hospital. Some of them are said to be critically injured.
The bus was on its way from Amritsar when the accident occurred on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, near Jhajjar Kotli area, near Katra in Reasi district. Katra is the base camp for Vaishno Devi pilgrims.
Most of the passengers were from Bihar who were visiting the shrine for a function, news agency PTI cited officials as saying.
“Ten people died while 55 were injured. The injured have been evacuated to the hospital. Besides police and central forces, locals too helped in the rescue operation,” said Chandan Kohli, Senior Superintendent of Police, Jammu.
He said the bus was overcrowded and it will be a part of the investigation even as the cause of accident is being ascertained.
Dilbag Singh, Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police, said that “overspeeding could be the reason behind the accident” and an investigation has been launched.
The injured are being treated at the Government Medical College in Jammu.
President Droupadi Murmu has condoled the deaths and wished speedy recovery to the injured.
“The death of many pilgrims in the bus accident in Jammu is extremely unfortunate. My deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. I wish the injured people a speedy recovery,” she tweeted in Hindi.