45 killed in Shimla accident (Lead)

November 4th, 2008 - 5:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Nov 4 (IANS) Forty-five people, mostly women, were killed and five injured when a private bus rolled down a 200-metre deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh’s Shimla district Tuesday morning, officials said. The ill-fated bus was coming to the state capital here from Kumarsain town when it fell into the gorge near Fagu, 25 km from here.

“Forty-five people were killed on the spot and five were admitted to the Indira Gandhi Medical College in Shimla,” Shimla Deputy Commissioner J.S. Rana told IANS.

Eyewitnesses said the bus was descending a steep gradient when the driver probably failed to negotiate a hairpin bend and the vehicle rolled down the gorge.

He said 51 people were travelling in the bus when the accident took place. The condition of the injured is critical. One passenger is missing.

Rana said most of the victims belonged to Kumarsain, Narkanda and nearby areas.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Transport Minister Kishan Kapoor and Horticulture Minister Narender Bragta reached the spot along with senior officials to oversee the rescue and relief operations.

The administration had a tough time in extracting the victims from the bus. Villagers began the rescue operations before the authorities could reach the spot.

Governor Prabha Rau and Chief Minister Dhumal have expressed grief over the mishap.

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