Kashmir bus crash claims at least 12 lives

Road safety is again in the spotlight after an overcrowded vehicle plunged into a mountain gorge

Passengers ride a crowded Blueline bus in New Delhi, India.  This privately owned bus company was responsible for killing over 100 people in 2007.
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At least 12 passengers were killed and more than two dozen were injured on Wednesday when a bus rolled down a deep gorge in the mountainous Poonch district of the Himalayan Kashmir region.

Police said the overcrowded vehicle was on a narrow mountain road when the driver lost control before the bus plunged into the gorge near Brari Ballah Sawjian.

Nine people died at the scene. Three more died later at a local hospital.

Police and local people climbed down the steep gorge to help the injured and retrieve the bodies of the dead.

Five of the injured have been flown to Jammu city for treatment.

Social media video of the accident spot showed a mangled vehicle lying inside the gorge as locals and rescue workers pulled the injured from the bus.

The local authorities announced cash compensation of 500,000 rupees ($6,300) for the families of the victims, and said the injured would be treated.

“Saddened by the loss of lives due to a road accident in Sawjian, Poonch. Condolences to bereaved families. May the injured recover soon,” tweeted regional administrator Manoj Sinha.

India’s new President Droupadi Murmu also expressed grief over the accident and prayed for the recovery of those injured.

The region, close to the border with Pakistan, is notorious for road accidents owing to its treacherous terrain and narrow roads as well as the overcrowding of public buses.

Last week at least 14 people were injured when their vehicle skidded off the road and fell into a gorge. At least nine people from a marriage party were killed when their vehicle plunged into a gorge in March this year.

Updated: September 14, 2022, 3:25 PM