Ramban/Jammu: Sixteen Amarnath pilgrims died and 27 were injured, 19 of them critically, when a bus skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and rolled into a deep nullah in Ramban district on Sunday, officials said.
The deceased pilgrims belonged to the states of UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh, they said. Two women were among the sixteen who died, they added.
A bus carrying pilgrims skidded off the road, turned turtle, and rolled down into the nullah at Nachlana belt of Ramban late this afternoon, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ramban, Mohan Lal said.
The J&K State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) bus was part of a convoy carrying 3,603 pilgrims from Jammu to the twin base-camps of Baltal and Pahalgam en route the cave shrine of Amarnath, police officials said.
According to the police, 16 persons, including two women, were killed and 27 were injured in the accident.
Nineteen injured pilgrims are being airlifted to Jammu for specialised treatment while eight have been admitted to the district hospital in Banihal.
Police, army and CRPF, with help from locals, launched rescue operations and brought out the bodies and the injured persons from the nullah.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed pain at the loss of lives in the accident.
“Extremely pained by the loss of lives of Amarnath Yatris due to a bus accident in J&K. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” Modi tweeted.
“I pray that those injured in the bus accident in J&K recover soon,” the prime minister wrote.
He announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of the Amarnath pilgrims killed in the accident and Rs 50,000 for those seriously injured.