Tragedy Strikes as Bus Plunges off Kashmir Highway, Claiming 36 Lives and Leaving Dozens Injured

A devastating incident occurred in the federal territory of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, resulting in the loss of at least 36 lives and leaving 19 people injured. The tragic event unfolded when a passenger bus, en route from Kishtwar town to southern Jammu city, veered off the road and plummeted about 660ft (200m) down a steep slope in the mountainous region.

Indian federal minister Jitendra Singh confirmed the grim death toll and announced plans for a helicopter service to airlift the injured. The injured individuals were promptly transported to nearby health facilities, with 10 of them in critical condition and receiving treatment at a hospital in Jammu.

Video footage captured by television broadcasters depicted the bus passing through a police checkpoint on a mountainous road just moments before the accident. Subsequent visuals showed the bus lying in a deep gorge, with locals and emergency responders gathering at the tragic site.

The exact cause of the crash remains unknown at this time, with authorities launching a rescue operation to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office expressed condolences for the lives lost and announced an ex gratia amount for the affected families.

“The bus accident in Doda, Jammu and Kashmir is distressing. My condolences to the families who have lost their near and dear ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest. An ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh (£1,900) from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of each deceased. Rs. 50,000 (£480) would be given to the injured,” posted Mr. Modi’s office.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha expressed deep sorrow over the tragedy and extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. He directed the divisional commissioner and district administration to provide all necessary assistance to the affected individuals.

A senior police official shared initial insights, suggesting that the bus may have gone out of the driver’s control during a sharp turn on the hilly road. The incident has prompted an outpouring of grief and calls for increased safety measures on such challenging terrains.

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