At least 10 people have been killed and 55 injured after a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims to a shrine in Indian-administered Kashmir skidded off a highway bridge into a Himalayan gorge.
The bus was on way to Katra town from the northern state of Punjab’s Amritsar city when it fell into the gorge near Jammu city, police said on Tuesday.
Local police officer Chandan Kohli told reporters that the bus was overloaded and that the dead were from India’s eastern Bihar state.
“Rescue operation is almost completed. A team from the State Disaster Response Force is also on the spot,” Kohli said.
The chief secretary of the region, Arun Kumar Mehta, visited the injured who are being treated at Jammu Medical College hospital.
Pilgrim deaths, injuries
The shrine of Vaishno Devi in Katra is highly revered by Hindus and hundreds of thousands visit it every year.
A total of 805 people died and 8,372 others were injured in 6,092 road accidents in the Jammu and Kashmir region in 2022, according to traffic police data for 10 years from 2010 to 2022, released in March.
During the first four months of this year, 254 people were killed and more than 2,300 others were injured in 1812 accidents, the majority of which occurred in the Jammu region, the data shows.
Jammu accounted for the highest number (551) of fatalities and injuries (6,585) between 2018 and 2022.
In comparison, Srinagar, the erstwhile summer capital, reported 229 accident deaths and 1,776 injuries during the same period.
The high number of accidents in Jammu has been attributed to poor road conditions, drunk and rash driving and overloading.