Thursday, March 9, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

45 die in HP bus mishap
From S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

SARAHAN, March 8 — Fortyfive members of a marriage party were killed and 18 critically injured, when a private bus carrying them to Dinger village in Sirmaur district went over a cliff in the early hours today.

Fortyfour persons died on the spot while the driver of the ill-fated bus, Om Singh (28), succumbed to his injuries while being taken to the PGI, Chandigarh. Two other critically injured persons were also referred to the PGI. Fifteen injured were rushed to the district hospital at Nahan.

65 persons were travelling on the bus.

A magesterial inquiry has been ordered into the mishap. The S.D.M. Rajgarh, will conduct the inquiry.

Preliminary inquiries suggest that the driver lost control over the vehicle which hit the van carrying the groom, which was ahead of the bus. Subsequently the bus went off the road and rolled down some 500 feet killing 45 persons on the spot. Their mutilated bodies were extricated from the wreckage of the bus this morning. Rescue operations continued till late in the afternoon but were hampered by the terrain. The wreckage was scattered along a steep cliff face.

Residents of nearby villages were the first to arrive at the accident site at about 12.30 a.m. However, they were unable to begin the rescue work because of the darkness and managed to reached the wreckage only at around 5 a.m.

The district authorities were informed of the mishap at 3 a.m. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Kaushal, along with a police and medical team rushed to the spot.

The limbs of some of the bodies were scattered at the accident site. Blood soaked bodies were carried down to Bagthan road below the site and handed over to their relatives after a post mortem.

It was a ghastly scene along 20 km of dirt road along which the bodies were being carried in a long line by grieving relatives and villagers.

Six teenage boys Ashok Kumar (14), Kamal Kumar (18), Satish Kumar (18), Dhanvir Singh (16), Lakhbeer Singh (17), and Sunder Singh (19) were among those killed. 18 victims are from Bhori village, three of them were from a single family. The accident occurred before the marriage party could reach the bride’s village.

Two video photographers of Paonta Sahib, Paramjeet Singh (25) and Swaran Singh (28) who were engaged for taking pictures of the marriage, were also killed.

It is for the first time that such a major tragedy has occurred in this area. About 70 lives were lost last year in an accident near Shillai.

Information of today’s accident was given by Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal, in the Vidhan Sabha in the morning. The Speaker, Mr Gulab Singh and the Opposition Congress joined him in expressing grief.

NURPUR: Meanwhile, six critically injured persons in the yesterday’s accident at Raja ka Bagh, in which 10 persons were killed, have been admitted to the Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College, at Dharamsala while 19 other passengers are being treated at the Nurpur Civil Hospital. The victims were members of a marriage party. Five of those killed are from Nanglahed. The groom’s brother-in-law also lost his life. Narrating his horrifying experience, an injured Chajju Ram, the band master accompanying the barat, said that despite being asked by the passengers to wait for the approaching train to pass the driver decided to cross. The worst came when the driver and the conductor of the bus jumped out and fled, after it stalled on the railway track, said a youth Balram, lying on a hospital bed with severe head injuries. The impact of the collision was so severe that the bus split into two after being dragged along the track for over 100 metres.

The Divisional Railway Manager from Ferozepur visited the site of the accident today morning. Railway traffic resumed after the train, which met with the accident departed today morning.

According to the police the list of the deceased includes Jagdish Chand, Balbir Singh, Madan Lal, Jagdev Singh and Balkar Singh (all residents of Nanglahed). Sanjeev Kumar of Thanggar near Jasoor, Balwinder Singh of Dadhwan in teshil Pathankot, Mantu of village Phangtoli in Pathankot tehsil, Dilawar Singh of Ranipur in Pathankot and Shamsher Singh. The critically injured includes Vikki, Pritam Singh, Mangat Ram, and Vinod Kumar of village Nanghaled, Nathu Ram and Meena of Nangal Bhelu village of Dasua tehsil of Punjab.

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