35 dead as minibus falls into gorge in Kishtwar

35 dead as minibus falls into gorge in Kishtwar

28-seater bus was carrying 52 passengers; 17 injured in hospital

Jammu: At least 35 people died and more than a dozen were injured when an overcrowded minibus skidded off a hilly road and fell into a deep gorge in Kishtwar district on Monday morning.
Officials said that the minibus, which was on its way from Keshwan to Kishtwar, skidded off the Keshwan-Thakrai road and rolled down into the deep gorge at around 7.30am.
Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner AS Rana told PTI that the 28-seater bus was carrying 52 passengers when the accident occurred, adding that a probe would be ordered.
Thirty-five people died and 17 others were injured, district Senior Superintendent of Police Shakti Pathak said.
Police, security agencies and locals launched a rescue operation and shifted the injured to the hospital. Choppers were flown in and three passengers were airlifted from the site to the Jammu Government Medical College Hospital, officials said.
Meanwhile, International Road Federation (IRF), the Geneva-based global body working for better and safer roads worldwide, expressed deep concern at the deaths in the accident.
“…A lot needs to be done to ensure road safety, especially in higher areas in the states of J&K, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and North East states in the country.
“The government should plan to incorporate the latest technologies and safety features, including installation of soil and slope stabilisation and roadside safety in the hilly terrain infrastructure, crash barriers, intelligent traffic plans, rumble strips, use of speed governors and proper signages,” said K K Kapila, president emeritus, IRF.
Kapila also called for installation of crash barriers, special separate tough driving license for hill drivers and use of vehicle tracking system.
“India accounts for highest number of road accident deaths and accounts for more than 10 per cent of global road accident deaths.
“During the year 2017 about 1.46 lakh people died in road accidents in the country. As a signatory to THE UN Decade of Action Plan, reiterated in Brasilia, India is committed to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities by half by the year 2020,” said Kapila.