Dharamshala, 0ct 16 (UNI) At least six pilgrims were killed and 43 injured, five of them seriously, after an overcrowded Uttar Pradesh bus skidded off the road and fell into a gorge in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh past midnight, Dehra DSP Sita Ram said today.
The accident occurred at about 0030 hrs near Dhaliyara, about 54 km from here, after the driver of the speeding bus failed to negotiate a sharp curve, the DSP told UNI here.
Mr Ram said the bus was carrying 72 passengers 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, who was in another bus at the time of incident, he said.
He said following the accident, senior district officials, including Dehra SDM Mamta along with rescue and medical teams, rushed to the accident site to supervise relief and rescue operations, which were hampered due to darkness in the area.
While five people died on the spot, another succumbed to his injuries on way to PGI, Chandigarh, he said.
Four seriously injured in the accident had been referred to Dr R P Medical College and Hospital at Dharamshala where the doctors described their condition critical, Mr Ram said.
The DSP said another seriously injured had been referred to PGI, adding that 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 were on to arrest him, he said.
The Dehra SDM said the district administration has announced an immediate cash relief of Rs 25,000 each to the next of the kin of the dead and Rs 12,000 each to the seriously injured.