In yet another tragic incident, at least 20 people were dead and 16 others injured after an "overcrowded passenger minibus slipped into a deep gorge along a mountainous road in Indian-controlled Kashmir this morning. The mishap took place around 9:55 am after the driver apparently lost control over the vehicle near Ramban district, leading it to plunge off the Himalayan mountain.
The driver lost control over the "overcrowded" vehicle which rolled down the 200-ft-deep gorge at Kela Morh near Maroof, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban range, Rafiq-ul-Hassan was quoted by reporters as saying.
The deceased include four women and the driver of the 22-seat minibus, which was carrying at least 36 passengers while on its way to Ramban town from Banihal. The injured, including 10 in critical condition were rushed to Army hospital at Udhampur while two others to Jammu.
"The critically injured persons were airlifted to Army hospital at Udhampur and Government Medical College hospital Jammu for specialized treatment," the DIG added.
Soon after the incident, local volunteers launched a rescue operation and were shortly joined by the quick reaction teams of police and Army. The rescue team has been awarded with Rs 50,000 for their significant contribution to the operation.
Showkat Aijaz Bhat, the district collector of Ramban has also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the keen of deceased and Rs 50,000 those injured. They praised the rescuers for reaching the accident victims "in the shortest possible time", thus saving many lives.