Shimla: At least 30 people including 27 children lost their lives when a school bus plunged into a deep gorge on Nurpur-Chamba highway near Gurchal village in Himachal Pradesh. The vehicle was ferrying children and staff to back home from Ram Singh Pathania Memorial School. 67-year-old bus driver Madan Lal and two women teacher also died in the accident. The bus was carrying 40-45 people and most of the killed student were aged below ten.
According to an official at least 13 seriously injured persons were rushed to a hospital in Pathankot where one of them succumbed to injuries. A pall of gloom descended in the area as wailing parents rushed to the spot on hearing the news. The bodies were extricated from the rubble with the assistance of local youth.
The initial enquiries suggested that the incident occurred as the driver lost control over the vehicle, which consequently fell into a deep gorge. A magisterial probe, however, has been ordered to ascertain the reason.
Soon after the incident, the Jai Ram Thakur-led state government announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for families of victims.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also offered his condolences to the families of those killed. “I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to a bus accident in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their near and dear ones in the accident,” PMO India tweeted.