Shimla Superintendent of Police R N Sharma has confirmed the deaths of 44 people. While 43 were cofirmed dead on the spot, one of the injured scummbed to his injuries at the IGMC hospital here. Mr Sharma, along with the SDM and other senior officials, reached the spot of the mishap. A team of doctors was also there.
Official sources said the post-mortems of 43 bodies will be conducted at a convienent place close to the spot from where the bus fell into the gorge.
Police sources here said rescue teams, including those of the army and the ITBP, reached the spot and were assisting the civil administration in the rescue operations and in retreaving the bodies of the victims. However, the possibility of finding survivors seemed remote.
The bus, which was badly damaged in the fall, was carrying around 50 passengers and was on its way from Kotighat to Shimla.
The injured were brought to the IGMC hospital here, where their condition was stated to be critical.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has expressed shock and grief over the tragedy. He has announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 50,000 each for the next of kin of the deceased while the injured would be treated for free.
A large number of family members and relatives of the deceased reached the spot.