Bus Falls into Gorge
Onlookers and security personnel stand next to the debris of a passenger bus at the site of an accident. [Representational Image.]Reuters File

In an unfortunate incident, over 40 passengers are feared dead after a minibus fell into a deep gorge in Pauri Garhwal's Nainidanda block in Uttarakhand on Sunday, July 1. The minibus was reportedly carrying more than 45 passengers when the accident occurred in the morning. 

The passengers were traveling from Bhoan to Ramnagar when the bus plunged into a 60-foot-deep gorge on the Pipali-Bhoan motorway. Soon after the accident took place, the police team, along with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed to the spot. Rescue operations are underway in full swing, reports NDTV.

Reports suggest that though the bus was a 28-seater, was overcrowded with passengers. This may have resulted in the bus driver losing control of the vehicle near Gwin overbridge.

The rescue personnel has recovered 20 bodies so far, ANI reported. Most of the passengers were killed on the spot as soon as the bus fell into the gorge. Fours passengers are said to be critically injured and have been taken to a nearby hospital in Dhumakot.

uttarakhand bus
Uttarakhand bus accident.ANI

Although the cops are yet to ascertain the number of casualties, the Garhwal police commissioner Dilip Jawalkar said the total number of deaths is expected to rise.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra S Rawat took to Twitter to express his condolences over the accident.

"The news of the bus accident near Dhumakot in Pauri district has been deeply unhurt; I have instructed the district administration to deliver immediate relief. Local administration, police, and NDRF are being taken into rescue work and all urgent efforts are being made," Rawat tweeted. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his disbelief over the tragic accident. 

"Extremely saddened by the bus accident in Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. My deepest condolences to the bereaved families. I pray the injured recover at the earliest. Rescue operations are underway and authorities are providing all possible assistance at the accident site" the Prime Minister's Office said in a tweet.

 In a similar incident that took place on June 10, two passengers were killed and 15 were left injured after their bus overturned at Tehri district in Uttarakhand. The passengers were on their way to Badrinath when the accident occurred near Bageshwar Bridge on the Rishikesh-Badrinath highway, reports FirstPost.