Twelve persons were killed and 43 others were injured when a Himachal Road Transport Corporation bus fell into a deep gorge near Joginder Nagar in Mandi district, about 200 km from here, police said today.
The incident occurred late last night when the bus, carrying 56 passengers, was on its way to Rekong Peo in tribal Kinnaur district from Dharamsala in Kangra district, they said.
Nine persons were killed on the spot, one died on the way to a hospital while two others succumbed to injuries in the hospital, police said. Among the injured, condition of 18 is stated to be serious, they said.
Police said six deceased have been identified while identity of six others, including an infant are yet to be ascertained.
The accident reportedly took place when the driver lost control over the vehicle while trying to give way to another bus on the road which had been dug up for laying the cable, they said.
The bus was the last bus in the evening for Rekong Peo enroute to Palampur, Jogindernagar, Mandi and Sundernagar and large number of passengers were from these areas.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today met the injured persons in Government Medical College, Tanda (Kangra) and announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of each deceased, Rs 10,000 to seriously injured passengers and Rs 5000 to passengers with minor injuries. Chief Minister also directed the officials concerned to give free treatment to injured persons.