M A I N   N E W S

3 dead, 38 hurt as bus rolls into gorge
Tragedy strikes Gujarat tourists in Himachal Pradesh
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Mandi, May 17
In a major accident, three persons were killed and 38 injured, three of them seriously, when the private bus in which they were travelling failed to negotiate a turn near the Jarol Telephone Exchange, near Sundernagar on the Chandigarh-Manali road, and fell into a 100 ft deep gorge last midnight. Most of tourists were schoolchildren and their parents from Surat in Gujarat.

Those who died on the spot have been identified as Kurnal, 17, Manjhli Bein, 55, both from Surat, and Jagdish Chand, the bus conductor from Rajasthan.

The seriously injured have been identified as Sanjiv, who fractured his arm, pelvic and spine, besides sustaining serious head injuries, Kinniri Patel, 28, from Baroda, who fractured her feet and Harshil, 8, who sustained a head injury and fractured his collar bone.

Both Sanjiv and Kinneri Patel have been referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The ill-fated tourists, most of them from Surat, were on an education tour to Manali. They had boarded the private bus (HP-02-1588) of Valley Con Travels Manali from Chandigarh yesterday.

As many as 35 of them, most of them children and their parents, who sustained minor injuries, have been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Sundernagar.

One of the injured, Vijay Patel, whose wife sustained serious injuries, said most of the passengers were sleeping as it was past midnight, around 2 a.m., when the driver lost control of the vehicle and the bus rolled into a gorge.

Nearby residents and police personnel, who reached the spot, rushed the injured to Sundernagar for treatment, eyewitnesses said.

The injured include Dumaliya (14), Harshil Patel (3), Kalpana (23), Tristesh Bhai (30), Faujal Gandhi (17), Ghashik (12), Shendhi (12), Ayushish Chaksi (11), M. Chaksi (14), Sarudhi (11), Harshil (11), Deepa Vardel Desai (32), Thetha Vardhey Desai (5), Divyakant (45), Daval Kumar (11), Sanket (15), Gita Barni (36), Dimple Baan (35), R.V. Rahul (6), Bharelbhai Desai (37), Samit Shah (11), Patel Bir Bhagwan Bhai (13), Rashmi (12), Parvatri (30), Mahenti (14), Yashoda (29), Bhavan (12), Shayne Gul (10), Ashikta (37), Ashiva (13), Kruti, Hanil (5), Ruchin (11), Shelesh Bhai and Rahul Shah (14).

The Station House Officer, Sundernagar, Mr Ashish Sharma, said the driver of the bus Budhiman fled the scene after the accident. The police had registered a case of negligence driving against him under Sections 279, 337 and 304 A of the IPC, he added.

The Deputy Commissioner of Mandi, Mr Subhasish Panda, said the next of kin who died in the accident were given ex-gratia relief of Rs 10,000 each, while those who sustained minor injuries had been given first-aid. “Arrangements have been made to send them back to their hometowns in Gujarat”, he added. 


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