Dharamshala, 0ct 16 (UNI) Five pilgrims were killed and 43 injured, six of them seriously, after an overcrowded bus fell into a gorge in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh past midnight, Dehra DSP Sita Ram said today.
The accident occurred at around 0030 hrs near Dhaliara, about 54 km from here, after the driver of the speeding bus from Uttar Pradesh failed to negotiate a sharp curve, he told UNI here.
Mr Ram said the bus, with 72 passengers on board, was carrying pilgrims from Bulandshar district of Uttar Pradesh to this district during the Navratra festival.
The accident was reported to the district administration by former Irrigation and Public Health Minister Ramesh Dhawala when he heard the cries of the passengers from the gorge, he said.
He said following the accident, senior district officials including the Dehra SDM and himself along with rescue and medical teams rushed to the accident site to supervise relief and rescue operations, which were hampered due to pitch darkness in the area.
While two of the seriously injured had been referred to PGI at Chandigarh, four others have been referred to Dr R P Medical College and Hospital at Dharamshala where the doctors termed their conditions as critical.
The DSP said the remaining injured were undergoing treatment at a government hospital at Dehra in the district.
The driver of the bus, who survived the accident, was absconding and efforts are on to arrest him, he added.