Shimla, Jun 15 (UNI) At least 16 people died and six others were injured, three of them seriously, after s state road transport bus veered off the road and fell into a gorge in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh early today.
The Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) bus was on its way from Basari to Rampur when it met with an accident at Badras Kainchi Mor, about 112 km from here, at about 0745 hrs, Shimla Deputy Commissioner J C Rana told UNI here.
He said the driver apparently lost control over the vehicle due to wet conditions following continuous rains in the region for the last few days.
The seriously injured have been referred to Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMC) here where the doctors described their condition critical, while others injured in the accident have been admitted at a government hospital at Rampur, he said.
Mr Rana said 15 people died on the spot, while another succumbed to injuries on way to the hospital.
Rampur SDM Daleep Negi along with a medical team had reached the site immediately after the accident to supervise relief and rescue operations, which were hampered due to rains, he said.
The dead who have been identified included bus conductor Gagan, 33 and four women, identified as Prem Lata, 36, Usha, 36, Sandhya, 15, and Urmila Devi, 35.
The driver is among the six injured.
The DC said a magisterial inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident, adding that the district administration has announced an immediate cash relief of Rs 10,000 each to the next of the kin of the dead and Rs 5,000 each to the injured.
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Vidya Stokes have expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the accident.
State Transport Minister Kishan Kapoor, who was on a tour to the remote Bharmaur area in Chamba district, has also expressed shock over the incident.
He also directed senior Corporation officials to visit the accident site and ascertain the cause of the accident.
Mr Kapoor also announced an immediate cash relief of Rs 10,000 each to the next of the kin of the dead and free medicines those injured in the accident.
UNI AS HS AKJ AS2001