Forty four passengers were killed on Wednesday when a private bus carrying more than 50 passengers fells into the Tons river near Chopal, 95 km from Shimla, in Himachal Pradesh.
Police said the bus was going from Tiyuni in Uttarakhand to Vikasnagar when the accident occurred. The bus route crosses through some areas of Himanchal. A medical team and personnel of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) from Dehradun have been rushed to the spot of the accident.
“40 bodies have been recovered by the rescue team from the site of the accident and there are reports of two more bodies floating in the river”, said Superintendent of Police (Shimla ) D W Negi.
District Collector (Shimla), Rohan Chand Thakur, said that the conductor of the bus was found. He added that there were total 46 passengers in the bus put of which only two survived.
Additional Chief Secretary (Disaster management) Tarun Shridhar said that as per the report, the casualty is very high. Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, Rohan Chand Thakur immediately reached the spot after hearing about the accident.The rescue and relief operation was led by Sub-divisional Magistrate Chopal alongwith locals, police and government medical teams. The exact cause of the accident was not immediately known.
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced Rs 1 lakh compensation to the family members of the accident victims. Rawat also announced Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured.
Uttarakhand chief secretary also S Ramaswamy directed Amit Negi, secretary (disaster mitigation) to remain in touch with officials in Himachal Pradesh.
According to official sources, a 13-year-old child and the conductor of the bus jumped seconds before the vehicle plunged into the river.