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11 killed, 29 hurt as bus falls into gorge
Chander Shekhar Sharma

Hamirpur, July 14
Eleven persons were killed and 29 injured when a bus (HP-06A-7501) of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) rolled down into a 175-foot gorge near Thain village on the Hamirpur-Nadaun highway early this morning. The bus was going from Rampur in Shimla district to Katra in Jammu.

Local villagers started rescue and relief operations. They brought the injured to the roadside on cots and informed the district authorities about the accident. They extricated bodies from the bus and carried these to the main road.

District administration officials reached the site and took part in relief and rescue operations. There were 40 persons in the bus, out of which 27, were admitted to a Hamirpur hospital and two taken to the PGI in Chandigarh.

The driver of the bus was among the injured while the conductor was killed. Six women and five men were killed in the accident. The deceased were identified as Sansar Chand, bus conductor, from Paprola, Dhani Ram, Bishan Dutt of Jammu, Narati Devi of Jhakhri, Hans Raj of Lamba Gaon, Sundran Devi of Jhakhri, Seema Devi of Dehra, Bandna Devi of Ghumarwin, Sunto Devi of Jhakri, Sita Devi of Jhakri and Besar Singh of Jammu.

State Transport Minister G.S. Bali expressed shock and grief and ordered an inquiry into the accident by the Divisional Manager, HRTC, Dharamsala, and the Works Manager, HRTC, Una. They were told to report within 24 hours. He said Rs 1 lakh each would be given to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the seriously injured.

Army jawan Rakesh Kumar, who boarded the bus from Shimla, said bad weather conditions and rash driving led to the accident. The driver of the bus was unable to talk as he was in a coma.
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