16 yatris die, 29 others left injured in highway mishap

Sixteen people died and 29 others were injured after a bus, carrying Amarnath yatris to Pahalgam, fell into a deep gorge near Nachilana, Banihal, today.

The bus carrying yatris was heading towards Srinagar when it met with an accident.  According to the police, 18 injured were airlifted to Jammu for the treatment while as 11 injured have been admitted at SKIMS hospital in Srinagar. The police said that a vehicle bearing registration number JK02Y-0594 met with an accident at Banihal in which 16 pilgrims died and 29 were injured.

SD Jamwal, IGP Jammu, while talking to reporters, said that the bus was a part of the Amarnath convoy and quoted eye-witness stating that it appeard to had a technical snag.

“According to witnesses rear  tyre burst caused the accident. Not a sabotage issue, it was a convoy bus,”said,  IGP Jammu. He said that all the yatris travelling in the bus have been recovered. “No one is missing,” he added.

He said that most of the passengers in the bus were from Rajasthan and Bihar.  After the incident  Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra visited the accident spot in Banihal area and took stock of the situation. Governor also briefed the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the situation in the area.

The rescue operations were carried by police which was joined were joined by the White Knight Corps of the Indian army. Twenty pilgrims were evacuated by IAF M-17 helicopters for treatment at Jammu.

Meanwhile with the death of sixteen pilgrims, the death toll during the annual Amarnath pilgrimage so far has risen to fourty since the commencement of the 40-day annual yatra to the holy cave shrine on June 29.

Sadashiv, 65, a resident of Maharashtra, complained of breathlessness on reaching Baltal base camp from Jammu early today . He was immediately rushed to a hospital at the base camp where he was declared dead, a yatra official said on Sunday morning.

A woman yatri Lalita from Gujarat, who was injured in a militant attack on July 10  in south Kashmir, also succumbed at  S K Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) early this morning. Seven pilgrims were killed and 19 others were injured in a militant attack on their vehicle at Anantnag on Srinagar-Jammu national highway on July 10.

One pilgrim from Telangana died due to a cylinder blast at Veesu-Mir Bazar, Qazigund, outside the Yatra area and two persons, an ITBP Personnel and an ISRO Technician died before the start of Yatra due to cardiac failures.

Meanwhile, the government has set up a helpline for inquiry about the Amarnath pilgrims travelling in the bus that rolled down in Banihal on Srinagar-Jammu highway. The helpline numbers are – 091-2560401, and 0191-2542000.

The police also setup a helpline in Srinagar and Jammu respectively for any queries and information regarding the injured persons in the accident. The helpline numbers in Srinagar are SDPO Zadibal on 9419000200, SHO Soura on 9596770587, SHO Karan Nagar on 9596770527 or Police Control Room Kashmir on 0194-2506504-07. Meanwhile, in Jammu the helpline numbers to inquire about the injured are as; GMC Jammu- 0191-2532000, 2560401 Government Medical College, Jammu -2585444 Deputy CommisionerJammu 2571912, SHO Bakshinagar-9419151378,O- 9622222449.

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